The coming choice: do we want a vibrant computer industry, or a protected movie business?
Blunt Fortune story about Hollywood’s demand that technology march at its glacial pace.
“Hollywood has gone to Washington to stop the trading of pirated movies online. It has thrown its lobbying muscle behind a bill, introduced by South Carolina Senator Ernest Hollings, that would order the Federal Communications Commission to find a way to halt this thievery if the entertainment and technology sectors can’t come up with their own solution. Disney CEO Michael Eisner, testifying in favor of the bill, took the opportunity to bash Silicon Valley on the Senate floor: “We’re dealing with an industry where an unspoken strategy is that the killer app is piracy.” […] The bill, however, is anathema to technology leaders like Intel Chairman Andy Grove and Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs. They fear the government could muck up the computer industry royally. Moreover, they question whether it’s their responsibility to rescue an industry that has historically been more concerned with cranking out Frankenstein sequels than embracing change. “Were the manufacturers of printing presses forced to protect the monks?” Grove asked in a recent op-ed piece. “Was the PC industry forced to protect the mainframe computer industry? Why is this case any different?” In an interview, Grove says, “We spent a decade talking convergence, and now that convergence is about to happen the content industry says, ‘Oh, not so soon’ and ‘Not this way and not that way.’ I think they are deadly afraid of [convergence], deadly afraid of what it is going to do to their business.” The message is clear: The studio owners are dinosaurs. If they can’t adapt to the brave new world that companies like Intel and Apple have ushered in, extinction is what they deserve.”