The Master Switch

The Rise and Fall of Information
Empires
Tim Wu
History of
Phones, Radio,
TV and Internet
in USA
What is a “Master Switch”?
Fred Friendly, CBS News
executive
- Free speech laws and
exclusive custody of the
master switch
Why should you be interested in this
book?
"We sometimes treat the
information industries as if
they were like others, but...
THE CONCEPTS OF
THE BOOK
“The Cycle”
“History shows a typical progression of
information technologies from somebody’s
hobby to somebody’s industry;...
Political power & media
“All power that derives from the control of information” must be
constrained (for both political p...
Separation principle
● A form of industry selfregulation by the FCC
● Competition comes from an
independence between three...
Internet: what is at the stake?
● Convergence
● Taking the same path
as previous techs?
● What lessons to be
drawn out fro...
CRITICISMS
What the book omits
● Not so savvy regarding
the Computing/ Internet
era
● Newspapers, magazines,
books ?1
● Lack of geogr...
Shortcomings in his theory
● Dubious
proposal of
Separation
principle
● Limits in the
Cycle theory
Take away
● How USA is made
● Media power
● Deep reflection on the
modern media
● Consumer awakening
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Master Switch

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Master Communication , Sciences Po Paris
Digital innovation and change management .

Published in: Business, News & Politics
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Master Switch

  1. 1. The Master Switch The Rise and Fall of Information Empires Tim Wu
  2. 2. History of Phones, Radio, TV and Internet in USA
  3. 3. What is a “Master Switch”? Fred Friendly, CBS News executive - Free speech laws and exclusive custody of the master switch
  4. 4. Why should you be interested in this book? "We sometimes treat the information industries as if they were like others, but they are not, for their structure determines who gets heard."
  5. 5. THE CONCEPTS OF THE BOOK
  6. 6. “The Cycle” “History shows a typical progression of information technologies from somebody’s hobby to somebody’s industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single corporation or cartel from open to closed system”
  7. 7. Political power & media “All power that derives from the control of information” must be constrained (for both political powers + industries) “If we believe in liberty, it must be free from both private and public coercion” “The government’s only proper role is a check on private power, never as an aid to it”
  8. 8. Separation principle ● A form of industry selfregulation by the FCC ● Competition comes from an independence between three players: content owners, network infrastructure, and tools of access
  9. 9. Internet: what is at the stake? ● Convergence ● Taking the same path as previous techs? ● What lessons to be drawn out from the telephone industry?
  10. 10. CRITICISMS
  11. 11. What the book omits ● Not so savvy regarding the Computing/ Internet era ● Newspapers, magazines, books ?1 ● Lack of geographical variety
  12. 12. Shortcomings in his theory ● Dubious proposal of Separation principle ● Limits in the Cycle theory
  13. 13. Take away ● How USA is made ● Media power ● Deep reflection on the modern media ● Consumer awakening

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