Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has issued a powerful warning of the disruptive force that technology can inflict on traditional business models.
In a speech in London on Monday night, Murdoch said that today's Internet pioneers were the heirs to the legacy of great explorers like Columbus.
Murdoch, chief executive of News Corp, admitted that power was moving away from proprietors such as himself, towards a "new media audience" who use IT and the Web to "to inform, entertain and above all to educate themselves". This included bloggers, and Web users who access information and downloaded music and video online.
"It is difficult, indeed dangerous, to underestimate the huge changes this revolution will bring or the power of developing technologies to build and destroy — not just companies but whole countries," said Murdoch, in a speech for the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers.
Until last year, Murdoch has taken little notice of the Internet boom. But in August 2005 News Corporation announced a major expansion into the online space. At the time, Murdoch said there was "no greater priority" for his company, and earmarked $2bn for online acquisitions.
Later that month, News Corporation was given clearance to buy Intermix Media for $580m (£322m), giving it control of the MySpace social networking site.
News Corp's BSkyB is also threatening to shake up the UK's broadband market. Last year it bought Easynet, which could be the prelude for a major assault against BT's dominance in the wholesale broadband market.