Teddy Wayne:

Perhaps the real problem, Professor Martin suggested, isn’t our rage but our rashness, and its relationship to our easily accessible devices.

“The Internet exacerbates impulse-control problems,” he said. “You get mad, and you can tell the world about it in moments before you’ve had a chance to calm down and think things through.”

What a load of horseshit! I just read this article and I never fucking do this.

If the Comcast and Time Warner Cable merger is approved, the combined company’s footprint will pass over 60 percent of U.S. broadband households, after the proposed divestiture, with most of those homes having Comcast as the only option for truly high-speed broadband. As DSL fades in favor of cable Internet, Comcast could control high-speed broadband to the majority of American homes. Comcast is already dominant enough to be able to capture unprecedented fees from transit providers and services such as Netflix. The combined company would possess even more anti- competitive leverage to charge arbitrary interconnection tolls for access to their customers. For this reason, Netflix opposes this merger.
Netflix’s statement in their shareholder letter on the proposed Comcast/Time Warner Cable merger.

Bill Gates in the summer of 1998 (from the same brilliant joint-inteview with Warren Buffett that I keep linking to):

Sometimes we do get taken by surprise. For example, when the Internet came along, we had it as a fifth or sixth priority. It wasn’t like somebody told me about it and I said, “I don’t know how to spell that.” I said, “Yeah, I’ve got that on my list, so I’m okay.” But there came a point when we realized it was happening faster and was a much deeper phenomenon than had been recognized in our strategy. So as an act of leadership I had to create a sense of crisis, and we spent a couple of months throwing ideas and E-mail around, and we went on some retreats. Eventually a new strategy coalesced, and we said, “Okay, here’s what we’re going to do; here’s how we’re going to measure ourselves internally; and here’s what the world should think about what we’re going to do.”

That kind of crisis is going to come up every three or four years. You have to listen carefully to all the smart people in the company. That’s why a company like ours has to attract a lot of people who think in different ways, it has to allow a lot of dissent, and then it has to recognize the right ideas and put some real energy behind them.

The first bit is important because it shows that disruption doesn’t always completely blindside those in power. Often times it’s just a matter of something happening far quicker than an incumbent realizes.

A great example of this with Microsoft isn’t just the internet as Gates describes above, but smartphones. Microsoft had Windows Mobile in prime position, but it wasn’t quite the “right idea” as Gates puts it. And once they realized that and came around to the right idea, it was far too late.

Benedict Evans:

But you needed a PC to use the internet, and for almost everyone that PC ran Windows, so Microsoft’s failure to create successful online services didn’t seem to matter. Microsoft survived and thrived in the PC internet era, despite appearing to be irrelevant, by milking its victory in the previous phase of the technology industry. PC sales were 59m units in 1995 and rose to over 350m in 2012. Of course, that’s now coming to an end.

That’s the exact right way to look at it. Microsoft has been fine throughout all these years despite dropping the ball badly on the internet because they still controlled the delivery mechanism for the internet: the PC. Much more damaging to them has been dropping the ball on mobile and now tablets because well, no PC (and thus, no Windows) required. 

Steven Levy:

Mission Control also lets Loon engineers terminate flights. Two days earlier, Google had conducted its first New Zealand test, launching five balloons. After successful passes over the South Island, the balloons had continued east. Two wound up in the waters off New Zealand’s coast, the payloads recovered by a waiting Googler at sea. DeVaul’s tablet now shows that others are making quick progress across the Pacific. Google would eventually terminate the flights, because the company hadn’t gotten around to informing the authorities in Chile about the possibility of high-altitude Internet balloons invading its airspace, and decided not to risk an international incident.

Another bold, ballsy bet. More compelling thoughts by Kevin Fitchard as well.