Re: Content and Distribution seen as polar.... was Re: More Napster Pablum

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From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Thu Jul 27 2000 - 23:03:26 PDT

I'm not really sure I can give more than an intuitive motivation for this myself, but
just a single historical bon mot: in the history of anti-trust action in the US, the
saga of Standard Oil stands out. One of the primary issues in the oil cases involved
whether oil companies could own gas stations; many, including John D. Rockefeller,
believed that vertical integration of this sort where the company controlled both
production and distribution was inherently anticompetitive.

Your question is interesting, and there's probably been lots of interesting research and
rhetoric on this topic. Your counterexamples are good... perhaps I said "content" when
I really meant "product." This begs the question: to what extent is content = product?

Interesting random bits, not the same thing but that might tie in: phone companies
forcing customers to lease their phones, cablecos doing same -w- boxes, Sony being
forced to open media standards and drop Beta (BTW, is it just me, or is anyone else sick
of Sony perpetually inventing new, generally proprietary or little-adopted storage media
every couple of years?) etc.

Good question, Eirikur. Bueller? Bueller? I'll give it some thought...


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