Brian X. Chen on Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s CEO, at The New York Times:
Mr. Stephenson said he worried about services that could replace the company’s own offerings. For example, free Internet-based messaging services like Apple’s iMessage are eating into the company’s revenue from text messages.
“You lie awake at night worrying about what is that which will disrupt your business model,” he said. “Apple iMessage is a classic example. If you’re using iMessage, you’re not using one of our messaging services, right? That’s disruptive to our messaging revenue stream.”
The future of wireless networks is very clear: they will be used for everything. AT&T Mobility and Verizon will very soon be providing your sole connections to the rest of the world, including your home internet, mobile internet, voice communications, television, and ambient devices. They are slowly transforming from phone companies into communications companies. The longer they try to hold on to stupid revenue streams like text messages and marketing monstrosities like “vCast”, the longer this transition will take.
The speed and quality of wireless networks are vitally important for the development of future generations of technology. The sooner we have a company that focuses on the network, as a technology company instead of as a sales and marketing company, the faster technological innovation can take place.
If Randall Stephenson is kept up at night by iMessage, he is a very shallow thinker. Text messaging was dead the second a mobile phone connected to the internet.