RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – Mark Cuban, dot com billionaire and blogger extraordinaire, has fired up the blogosphere lately with a recent post that the Internet is dead and boring.
He’s not out of step on this.
Cuban, who recently was picked for the next season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars,” published his Internet criticism on August. 24. I happen to believe he is correct.
Just as cable TV is saturated with reruns of the same movies and TV shows, so to is the Internet with the same news and information delivered across thousands of Web sites. YouTube aside, when was the last time something really excited you about the Internet?
Internet Protocol TV – with AT&T, Verizon and other phone companies striving to offer an alternative to cable – has promise. But even when available, will IPTV be any different than milquetoast cable?
I do remember how excited I was to get Internet access through cable. The speed breakthrough was amazing. Now I find myself getting frustrated if the Web site I want to visit doesn’t load faster than Billy the Kid drawing his gun.
“Every new technological, mechanical or intellectual breakthrough has its day, days, months and years. But they don’t rule forever,” Cuban, who also owns the NBA Dallas Mavericks. “That’s the reality.
“Every generation has its defining breakthrough. Cars, TV, Radio, Planes, highways, the wheel, the printing press, the list goes on forever. I’m sure in each generation to whom the invention was a breakthrough it may have been heretical to consider those inventions ‘dead and boring’. The reality is that at some point they stop changing. They stop evolving. They become utilities or utilitarian and are taken for granted.
“Some of you may not want to admit it, but that’s exactly what the net has become. A utility. It has stopped evolving. Your Internet experience today is not much different than it was 5 years ago.”
Where is he wrong on this?
I’ll get excited about the Internet again when a true wireless alternative is available to IPTV or cable. Maybe WiMax is it, or faster WiFi.
Cuban points out that Web 2.0 tools are applications are designed to run on the Internet – not part of the Internet. Of course, increasing Internet ubiquity and faster speeds to accommodate new multimedia applications enabled this explosion. But that’s Cuban’s point.
“The days of the Internet creating explosively exciting ideas are dead,” he wrote. “They are dead until bandwidth throughput to the home reaches far higher numbers than the vast majority of broadband users get today.”
However, Cuban also has praise for the Internet and what it has meant to all of us, from users to developers.
“The Internet is boring,” he said. “That is not a bad thing. In fact its easy to make the argument that its a great thing. That it has become the utility that the people who worked to get it started firmly believed it would. That it finally is the platform for any number of mundane applications that are easy to write and that anyone can use and trust.”
He’s right. I expect my Internet connection to be up all the time and my e-mail to be accessible no matter where I travel.
The Net may be boring, but can you live without it?