How the iPhone is killing the 'Net

Oxford professor argues in new book that shift from PCs to appliances, appalling cybersecurity will slow innovation

Is the iPhone killing the 'Net? That's the question posed by Oxford University Professor Jonathan Zittrain in his new book, <i>The Future of the Internet and How to Stop It</i>.

Zittrain is a bona fide member of the digiterati -- a cyberlaw scholar with multiple degrees from Yale and Harvard. He is the Professor of Internet Government and Regulation at Oxford University and co-founder of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society. His latest book is due for release April 14.

Zittrain argues that today's Internet appliances such as the iPhone and Xbox hamper innovation. That's because these locked-down devices prohibit the kind of tinkering by end users that made PCs and the Internet such a force of economic, political and artistic change.

Zittrain understands why appliances are attractive to the average Internet user. They're neatly packaged, they're easy to use, and they're reliable.

"We have grown weary not with the unexpected cool stuff that the generative PC had produced, but instead with the unexpected very uncool stuff that came along with it,'' he writes. "Viruses, spam, identity theft, crashes: all of these were the consequences of a certain freedom built into the generative PC. As these problems grow worse, for many the promise of security is enough reason to give up that freedom.''

Zittrain argues that if the cybersecurity situation doesn't improve, we will migrate to a different kind of Internet. The new Internet will have as its endpoints tethered appliances such as iPhones, which are controlled by their manufacturers, instead of open, changeable PCs attached to an open network that can foster the next round of disruptive innovation.

"The future is not one of generative PCs attached to a generative network. It is instead of appliances tethered to a network of control,'' he warns.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Carolyn Duffy Marsan

Network World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?