ChromeOS says tear down this network regulation wall

With ChromeOS Google is making the same call on networks Microsoft made on chips two decades ago. It's a call that demands a response, not just from the market but from governments. Deregulate. Free the bits. Here and around the world.

An Australian friend wrote yesterday with a question:

I really can't see the point of a cloud-based OS for the general user. The added cost in using it doesn't seem worthwhile.

It would take me over 6 months to upload my data at my connection speed not to mention that ISPs here in Australia have now included uploads as part of your total usage which for me would be exceeded for those 6 months.

So can I ask - why choose ChromeOS ?

These are good questions. They have been vexing me ever since IBM and Ubuntu launched their Africa-only Linux, based heavily on network use, a few months ago.

It got me to thinking about the 1980s, the dawn of the Windows era.

Each new release of software pushed hardware beyond its limits. To get the latest new features, to review new software, I had to buy a new top-of-the-line PC every few years. Software sold hardware.

This helped make more than Bill Gates rich. It delivered fortunes to the entire semiconductor ecosystem -- from box makers like Michael Dell to chip makers like Andy Grove of Intel to chip equipment makers like Jim Morgan of Applied Materials -- everyone sold everything they could make at a fat profit.

All of today's current trends -- you can add clouds and the iPhone to this -- are pushing demand for networking much as chip demand was pushed then.

What will meet that demand is just what met it then -- Moore's Law. Not Moore's Law as Moore wrote it, but as it has been applied in networking technologies like optical fiber and radios.

Thanks to Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing, a single optical fiber today can carry many times the data it carried a decade ago. Thanks to Digital Signal Processors we can do the same thing with wireless data.

What is holding back network capacity is politics. We still think of it in terms of telephony, a regulated industry managed for scarcity. It's not that way, and hasn't been that way for a long time.

Throw out the old rule book and write a new one, based not on scarcity but abundance. Let the competition to serve more-and-more bits drive entrepreneurs to new fortunes around the world. Open more spectrum to unlicensed use, like WiFi is regulated, demand wholesaling of the last mile, and the bits you unleash will make us all rich again.

That's what today's software is telling us. That's the message of ChromeOS. Unleash Moore's Law in networks, unshackle competition to provide faster-and-faster data services, and watch the economy of the world take off again.

With ChromeOS Google is making the same call on networks Microsoft made on chips two decades ago. It's a call that demands a response, not just from the market but from governments.

Deregulate. Free the bits. Here and around the world.

Or, as Ronald Reagan might say, Mr. Genachowski, tear down this wall.