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The Master Switch

It is easy to forget that every development in the history of the information industry - from the telephone to radio to film - once existed in an open and chaotic marketplace inhabited by entrepreneurs and utopians, just as the Internet does today. Each of these, however, grew to be dominated by a monopolist or cartel. In this pathbreaking book, Tim Wu asks: will the Internet follow the same fate? Could the Web - the entire flow of information - come to be ruled by a corporate leviathan in possession of 'the master switch'? Analyzing the strategic maneuvers of today's great information powers - Apple, Google, and an eerily resurgent AT+T - Wu uncovers a time-honored pattern in which invention begets industry and industry begets empire. He shows how a battle royale for the Internet's future is brewing, and this is one war we dare not tune out.
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At the heart of this fascinating book is one of the central questions of our age - rendered more urgent by recent events in the Arab world: is the internet a revolutionary innovation that will overthrow the established order... or will it turn out to have been an unruly technology, that will never escape the controlling embrace of corporations and governments? (Guardian)

About the Author

Tim Wu is an author, a policy advocate, and a professor at Columbia University. A veteran of Silicon Valley, in 2006 he was recognized as one of fifty leaders in science and technology by Scientific American magazine. He won the Lowell Thomas gold medal for Travel Journalism, and has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times and Forbes. He is also a fellow of the New America Foundation and the chairman of the media reform organization Free Press. He lives in New York.


'Magisterial... Wu's sharp analysis and eye for a good story will impress any thoughtful legislator. If new media laws are to be made, this book will be a key document.' - Sunday Times 'An ambitious history of the communications industries in the 20th century... these are great stories, and Wu tells them expertly.' - Guardian 'Wu is the rare writer capable of exhuming history and also interpreting current affairs. In this profound and important book, he excels at both.' - New Scientist

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