The Critical Path #175: There Is No Such Thing As A Free Service

We pause briefly from talking about cars to talk Apple’s quarterly. The China slowdown, the Watch as the future of computing, services and trusting an advising automaton.

Source: The Critical Path #175

  • Tim Sweetman

    Stewart Brand once said something along the lines of, “information wants to be free, and also wants to be extremely valuable”. Apparently, what *really* wants to be free is quotes taken out of context. What really *doesn’t* want to be free is: lunch.

    My guess is that the tradition of asking the hotel concierge where you can go for a good time is because, traditionally, you are already a customer of the hotel. The hotel’s smooth functioning, as well as concierge’s tips, will be aided by the concierge finding you somewhere adequate, if not the best bargain in town; a misdirected guest is an angry guest. A concierge who *wants to be paid* is more expensive, but not more trustworthy! One of the problems with the “If you didn’t pay, you’re the product being sold” adage is: you can pay, and *still*, *also* be the product being sold. (This is “market for lemons” territory, right?)

    In principle, Apple already has a relationship with users, brand, etc, and is in a better position to charge for services than many other companies (relative success of Apple Photos, iCloud pay-per-storage options). It’s a pity the App Store model seems largely to make its money from gaming whales. The whales may mostly be someone else’s problem, but the App Store being overwhelmed by mud and free-to-pay plankton is everyone’s problem.