Are we seeing a disturbing trend in "blackmail" innovation...?

Summary:I've been thinking about the acquisition of a Silicon Valley startup, Ribbit, by BT, the giant British telecoms firm.Ribbit started out in classic form as the vendor of disruptive telecom technologies.

I've been thinking about the acquisition of a Silicon Valley startup, Ribbit, by BT, the giant British telecoms firm.

Ribbit started out in classic form as the vendor of disruptive telecom technologies.

Ribbit declared itself "Silicon Valley's First Phone Company" - a bold statement but that's because it was taking on the telcos. And I liked that about Ribbit, that made them interesting.

Now, Ribbit has sold out to a telco.

I supported its mission against the telcos because I believe that the telcos are keeping us, as a society, in the dark ages. And Vint Cerf, the Father of the Internet, agrees, he told me that their behavior is "against the national interest:" here.

So, did Ribbit talk a good talk to acquire the attention of BT? Yes, it did.

More importantly, is this Silicon Valley's future? Create a disruptive technology so that you get acquired (and closed down?).

That's not innovation, that's more like blackmail. Innovation has to be disruptive therefore as an incumbent you can survive anything that threatens you, you just need to identify disruptive technologies early and buy them. That's a valid business strategy.

Is this a business model for Silicon Valley startups: blackmail innovation along with VC blackmail investing? Yes, it is, it is one of the faster growing trends.

The losers are the market, if this indeed, is Silicon Valley's future trend.

It is disheartening if we, as journalists, pick up interesting companies to write about only to see them being acquired by the very companies they are supposed to be disrupting.

Topics: CXO, Emerging Tech, Networking, Telcos

About

In May 2004, Tom Foremski became the first journalist to leave a major newspaper, the Financial Times, to make a living as a full-time journalist blogger. He writes the popular news blog Silicon Valley Watcher--reporting on the business of Silicon Valley.Tom arrived in San Francisco in 1984, and has covered US technology markets for leadi... Full Bio

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