The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Nov 2, 2010 - Business & Economics - 384 pages
8 Reviews

New Yorker and Fortune Best Book of the Year

Analyzing the strategic maneuvers of today’s great information powers–Apple, Google, and an eerily resurgent AT&T–Tim Wu uncovers a time-honored pattern in which invention begets industry and industry begets empire. 

It is easy to forget that every development in the history of the American information industry–from the telephone to radio to film–once existed in an open and chaotic marketplace inhabited by entrepreneurs and utopians, just as the Internet does today. Each of these, however, grew to be dominated by a monopolist or cartel. In this pathbreaking book, Tim Wu asks: will the Internet follow the same fate? Could the Web–the entire flow of American information–come to be ruled by a corporate leviathan in possession of "the master switch"? Here, Tim Wu shows how a battle royale for Internet’s future is brewing, and this is one war we dare not tune out.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sdmouton - LibraryThing

3.5 stars, a wonderful history of telecommunications empires. I'm not sure I agree with the conclusions Wu draws, but that is probably my technological idealism overpowering reason. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ohernaes - LibraryThing

Goes through the modern "information" businesses in the US - telephone, radio, television and film, and internet. A recurrent theme is how upstarts become (power-abusing) empires. The communication ... Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Tim Wu is an author, policy advocate and professor at Columbia University, currently serving as Senior Advisor to the United States Federal Trade Commission.  In 2006, he was recognized as one of fifty leaders in science and technology by Scientific American magazine, and in the following year, 01238 magazine listed him as one of Harvard’s one hundred most influential graduates. He writes for Slate, where he won the Lowell Thomas gold medal for travel journalism, and he has contributed to The New Yorker, Time, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Forbes.

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