Want to know why your Apple stock took a 3.5% hit yesterday? Well the news is not good when you attribute a stock drop to a Steve Jobs public appearance, especially when he’s preaching to the Apple priesthood of 4000 plus software developers in a keynote address at the WWDC07. That’s Apple speak for this year’s World Wide Developers Conference held in San Francisco.
Senior Analyst and Editor
While there was disappointment among some Apple software developers, others consider this a "step in the right direction" as Ken Case, chief executive of Omni Group was quoted in a Forbes article yesterday.
The news should not distract attention from the real breakthrough - Jobs has used his clout to move the unmovable - namely getting one of the "Big Four" wireless carriers (AT&T) to yield control of certain aspects of the wireless network to enable cool new functionality and in effect break the bottleneck of innovation and development long held by the carriers.
This is one of those "dancing frog" stories where the media seems to be focusing on how well the frog is dancing rather than the fact it can dance at all, and perhaps best underscored by another recent article in Forbes called "Spectrum Warriors".
This article chronicles the efforts of a handful of technology veterans to create a wireless spectrum "sand-box" from a small portion of the new bandwidth opened up by the switch to digital broadcast. In an open letter to the FCC, the group is calling for the creation of an "open access" block of spectrum allowing innovation and creativity apart from the "Big Four" carriers who, for the most part look to preserve status quo and limit wireless access to protect them from disruptive technologies like VOIP. The Forbes article goes on to say: "just as an Internet user can hook any device they want up to their Internet connection, users will be able to use all sorts of devices on wireless networks."
However, don’t look for the wireless industry, headed by the CTIA Wireless Association to give up control without a fight, characterizing the idea as a "1970-style government mandate." A hypocritical statement at best, but what else is new. The CTIA should take notice of the tremendous interest the concept of an iPhone has created and recognize that Jobs simply saw a broken system and proposed a way to fix it. In doing so, he opened up the floodgates of innovation that even the powerful wireless lobby cannot stop.
Like any new disruptive idea, it must get past the inertia of the entrenched old guard (remember the big three broadcasters?) We can thanks Steve Jobs and his team of innovative product designers for jump-starting the wireless industry in the direction many, if not all cell phone users would like to move. As for that Apple stock price drop, maybe it is just short sightedness.