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#1 Technological control. Protocols, hardware, software are mostly US-designed. If, overnight, a couple of players such as Apple and Microsoft decide that Flash sucks, their gravitational field acts upon everything else (they might be right, technically speaking for web-video, but still many Flash-based multimedia productions becomes useless, like providing glasses that won’t read old books…) The same goes for hardware designs (microchips, graphic components), operating systems and even HTML norms (even though W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium, is supposed to be an international organization).

#2 Commercial control. As the internet becomes more applications-oriented, this control over hardware and OS designs and suppliers influences the availability of contents. The perfect example is the Apple ecosystem (iPhone, iPod, iPad devices + iTunes + Applications). Willing to focus on its lucrative domestic market, and for alleged production reasons, Apple decided to postpone the release of the iPad outside the US by a couple of months.
Fine. But in doing so, it blocked the access to the iPad App store and all its related contents. To use my own [admittedly grey-market] iPad, I managed to switch from a France-based iTunes account to a US one (you must have a billing address there). Then, a new world of contents and applications materialized before my eyes. All the applications I was prevented from grabbing for my iPhone suddenly became available, so did recent movies (to rent or to purchase), TV series, documentaries… and books.

#3 Regulatory control. Apple is not the only one to territorialize its system (although it does that with a great zeal). Country blocking — i.e. the ability to implement regional restrictions though Country Code Top-Level Domain –  is in fact dictated by complex country-to-country copyright contractual agreements.


Balkanizing the Web | 2010-05-02
Reposted bykrekk krekk
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