I'll take that bet

Scott McNealy as quoted by the Register:

"I guarantee you it will be hard to sell an iPod five or seven years from now when every cell phone can access your entire music library wherever you are."

Scott, I guarantee you that even if it's easy for any phone to access your online music library five years from now, most users will prefer to store the music locally so they don't have to pay a big wireless download fee every time they want to listen to Bohemian Rhapsody, and so the song won't stop in the middle when they go out of coverage.


Anonymous said...


I think you missed out on th "visionary" part of technology/application.

Ten years ago if someone would have told me that I will be streaming video/tv content on to my PC in real time to watch movies or shows I would be loughing at him - and saying that I rather buy the CD/DVD then wait for 10 hours for it download on dial up, cost $100 in phone bills and break up each time I have call waiting :)

3G, 4G are evolving (slowly - but they do), pricing is getting down and flat-rate 3G accounts are starting to show up (mainly in Europe). Quality of mobile networks is better in Europe and where I leave (Israel) then it is in the US (and I travel a lot to the US - also for PalmSource DevCons) so that issue could be much better if your local operators will be willing to invest more.


Michael Mace said...

Thanks for the comment, Moshe.

I don't disagree that wireless is improving, I just think that local storage (flash and micro hard drives) is improving even faster. It's the cost differential between the two that I think makes a completely thin wireless client a spectacularly dumb idea.

I think the right architecture is to have a ton of local storage on the device, and use wireless just to refresh that cache and to reach out for data that's not on it.

We'll have to wait five years to find out who's right. I'll tell you what -- drop by in January 2011 and I'll be glad to apologize if I got it wrong. ;-)


PS: I agree completely that wireless phone service is better in Europe than in the US. I'm not sure that the difference is due only to investment levels, though. Americans are less motivated to use mobile because their wired phone service is a lot cheaper than what you get in Europe. The population in the US is more spread out, and in the west there are a lot more mountains, which makes it hard to get coverage outside the core cities and biggest highways.

I think the lack of a single mobile wireless standard is also an issue -- we're basically paying for two duplicate networks. But yeah, the investment level is also an issue.