Friday, June 19, 2009
The Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing that examined wireless handset exclusivity, as well as limitations on consumers' access to functions available from wireless devices, and downloadable software applications. While no one disputed the likelihood that smart phones will increasingly operate like small personal computers. However, wireless subscribers do not have the same freedom to attach to networks as they do for televisions, conventional personal computers and devices attached to the wired network.
The Apple Apps store current offers 30,000 choices compared to the millions available via the web. Major wireless carriers, such as AT&T and Verizon, claim handset exclusivity and access limitations are necessary business decisions that do not harm consumers. I disagree, and in testimony explain how an emphasis on recouping handset subsidies reduces innovation for devices that will become increasingly essential "third screen" alternatives to televisions and larger computers.
My written testimony and a two page summary is available at: http://www.personal.psu.edu/faculty/r/m/rmf5/.
The Commerce Committee link to the Hearing is available at: http://commerce.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Hearing&Hearing_ID=03b81ffd-ba9f-42e6-8331-7c28f6d112b0