Spice Wars — a lesson for our digital economy?
Kate Edgar
26

Hi Kate,

Fascinating article and the picture was enough to lure me to read your blog. The Facebook initiative’s debacle in India is a good example where the government ruled against it citing violation of net neutrality. This makes sense in a way but the protesters were just being rabble-rousers calling them as ‘digital colonists’. Indian government need to work with companies either home grown or foreign to bring Internet to the masses, who are willing to invest and can accelerate the process. However, they need to polices around data collection and ownership. Although it might be the dream of corporations to be a monopoly, do you think countries should try to facilitate local companies grow like China? Also, these companies offer services for free and need a way to grow their revenue. I don’t see them offering paid services and not serving ads which might be a considerable change in business model. New companies could provide alternative offerings such as ‘Ello’ — but am not sure if they will attract huge user base. As these services/companies target different parts of our life, am not sure they are in a zero sum game like the colonial wars. Startups whose business model adds value to its users might evolve into another corporation like Uber & Whatsapp who also get access to lot of personal information about its users. If history is any guide, colonialism and monopoly is not sustainable where only a few reap the benefits of globalization. This was already visible during the Brexit.

Looking forward to your next blog about commoditization of data, perhaps with another enticing picture.