It seems the mobile operators are working to carve out a ‘walled garden’ for their operation….

… at precisely the same time that the king of walled gardens – AOL – is opening up. AOL users can keep their email addresses as they abandon the dial-up service, or access the site over broadband provided by local carriers or cablecos, but not necessarily AOL’s parent – Time Warner.

The hard part for any network operator is to bring content to their users. Of course, that is why the network is useful – it connects users to the content they value and are willing to pay for access to. Over the past two decades, we have seen the rise of the bulletin board, which combined network and content. The BBS was gradually replaced by the rise of the online service (Prodigy, CompuServe, AOL) which brought large scale to the bulletin board function, and first introduced independent content providers.

With the commercialization of the Internet in 1995, these online service providers were quickly obsoleted by the introduction of a completely separate network, independent of the content provider. This architectural change made anybody, and everybody a content producer which shifted the challenge to users to find content of interest to them. That’s where Yahoo! and ultimately Google derived their extraordinary role for Internet users.

The Internet delivered a powerful model that let users find the content THEY want.

It seems to me that mobile operators are fighting against the recent online history.

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