Independence Day

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Regator Wants To Be A Blog Reader For The Masses

Tomorrow we celebrate July 4th, and a week later our long National Nightmare is over. On the 11th we deposit our 2G iPhones in the FriendFeed donation bins and officially hook ourselves up to the Enterprise iPhone. The ePhone will change how we work and play, and in the process free us from the tyranny of our jobs as consumers.

When the iPhone shipped last year, IT responded with a wave of dismissal to the shiny new platform. No keyboard, no push email, no secure deployability, and certainly no way to decommission the phone on exit from a company. In short, not a Blackberry. No way of ranking and rewarding employees by who gets one and who doesn’t. No hooks to Exchange to keep information bottled up in familiar corporate audit trails. And worst of all, no roadblock to time-wasting via an unviewable Web experience.

To be sure, the iPhone’d price point and lack of Office integration proved sufficient to allow IT to rule out support for corporate deployment. Within a few months, IMAP support made bidirectional syncing of email possible, but Google stepped up and took strategic advantage with Gmail integration and finessed the lack of native Mac calendar and contact support with a fast on-demand version of GCal and other Google Apps.

Then, just yesterday, Google released a slick version of Google Talk for the iPhone, prompting some overexcited predictions of the demise of SMS but certainly a muscular shot across the carriers’ bow with a demonstration of how little else is needed to provide robust enterprise communications over the Net. Those who remember the late great Track/IM combination of Twitter’s realtime platform immediately started licking their chops. So too did marketers, politicians, publishers, and Hollywood. The Social Wand is coming to a palm near you.

Sure, IT will still have a few weak complaints to slow this down, particularly at companies who make money by hoarding information and charging a premium for scarcity. AN IM application will take down the battery, requiring keeping the browser open only to that single application to maintain state and presence on the network. Apple will provide a pinging service to simulate keeping the device “alive” in September, but may be reluctant to make it too easy for Google to disrupt a principal rationale for buying the $99 MobileMe service for essentially the same push email capability.

But marrying a Twitterish social service with Gtalk’s auto-archiving and emerging social gadget platform means that users can begin to harvest swarming behavior wherever they are, regardless of private or work context. The ePhone becomes a unifying device and identity key to arbitrate transactions on the move, changing the business flow of sites from CraigsList to Amazon to your local supermarket. GPS means the ePhone is broadcasting your location to service providers who can offer you discounts and seats near friends as you move through space and time.

Markets long squandered by the music cartel will open as artists realize they can go direct to their audience, offering multicast access to backstage, rehearsal, recording studio outtakes, and archival performances on demand. 3G and WiFi will combine to create streaming products that mirror and eventually overtake radio, and shift drive-time revenue from broadcast to a more algorithmically intelligent personalized product based on behavior not just of the individual but the peer cloud they inhabit.

Inevitably, the things we do to make money will evolve to follow this new architecture. Services like FriendFeed that make it easier to identify and contour micro-communities reward those good at communicating, collaborating, and managing the flow of popular information. These skills are highly prized by technology companies today – and by the enterprise verticals that commit to platforms that support these fast-forming and moving conversations.

Disruption occurs when coalescing technologies commingle and create opportunities that were just not reachable enough previously. The ePhone delivers the iPhone vision, and the speed of its adoption will make those who fail to aggressively participate sorry they missed the meeting. These are the new truths we will shortly hold to be self-evident.

  • Dave Levine

    A brave new world for sure, though probably a half-decade out for any mainstream adoption of these services unfortunately. I like the sound of it on this Independence Day, and especially am glad to know our country will be leading the charge.

  • Ralph

    “arbitrate transactions” … “coalescing technologies” … “algorithmically intelligent” … Do you make a bet with your friends to see if you can work certain random phrases into your posts?

  • Steve Gillmor

    No, Ralph just using words to describe stuff.

  • david amodt

    like and agree w/ most of the post, but will the corporate clients and businesses go with the 3G w/ the camera? That’s a killer in most businesses.

    Another factor is the blackberry vs iphone crowd. BB users grow addicted to a keyboard and a quick response that the iPhone just can’t offer. A quick email back or a response takes seconds on a BB but the iPhone can’t do. I love my iPhone and BB but 2 different uses for different cultures. IMHO

  • chloe

    Loved the gramatically errors and misspellings, a nice touch.

  • damon

    Can you guys tweak your wordpress template, the bottom half of the big TechCrunchIT logo is not clickable to take you home.

    Raise the z-order of header_logo to be above header_items.

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  • Anil Kumar Singh

    We all are waiting for iPhone.

  • Michel

    You mention the ePhone a lot.. Is that something new?

  • Bud Moore

    The parody is better written, and shows a greater understanding of the subject. Like many articles on Techcrunch this is ruined by verbosity.

  • Richard Emory

    I’m going to stop reading Gillmor’s posts. I never understand what the hell he’s saying.

  • Neptune

    This post is horrendous. He sounds pretentious with his usage of the superfluous words. Not needed to convey the story. Maybe he is compensating for something…

  • Sebastian

    What’s the matter with you people? Don’t you know how not to read something? How to unsubscribe? Who is holding a gun to your head, forcing to read Steve Gillmor’s articles? And don’t you have better things to do than bitch about orthography and punctuation?
    For what it’s worth Steve, I think your older posts on other blogs were more cryptic, more musical, progressive if you will. I liked that better…

  • BillG

    The ePhone will change how we work and play, and in the process free us from the tyranny of our jobs as consumers

    What’s an ePhone??

  • Dave McSteve

    ePhone = enterprise capable iPhone. For what it’s worth I think that Gillmor’s writing style is a refreshing oasis amidst a swirling, sucking, ever blackening eddy that is the end of the proper written tradition. As I watch the world rely on spellcheck, and get applications to my company where kids say they have “poured” over our website, and that their “gold” in life is to be a graphic designer, blah blah, I realize that not only does Gillmor understand what he’s saying, he knows how to say it well. Write on sir. Any way you choose….

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  • David Andrew

    I wish you would’ve used simpler words, it’s really hard to understand what you’re trying to say.

  • Kleber F.

    No doubt Iphone has it problems… but no one cant say that having such a nice phone is better then have all the others.. i cant wait until they release the 3G version(here in Brazil) with the “new battery” that will hopefuly last longer and lets use use the iphone :P

  • jake

    Let freedom ring!

  • Michael C Taylor

    I thought the Enterprise level functionality was from the firmware… not the phone itself.

    Won’t the 2G’s support Exchange as well, once the 2.0 update is release?

  • Globecode

    Didn’t apple show a separate IT admin functionality for using the iPhone in the enterprise. I guess I am confused on your use of enterprise. If you mean anybody buying one personally and using it as a business tool, I agree with all that you said. If you mean your business buying it for you to use for enterprise/business, then I believe you are missing some of the policies (restrictions) apple put into the IT admin of this device. In fact I would say it is more of an ePhone for the personal buy/business use scenario than for the enterprise buy/business use scenario.

    I still want to see how many companies justify having itunes now as an enterprise application to administer the iphone. I hardly find an IT admin that allows itunes on their enterprise machines. I guess I should explain that my expertise is with services companies that are not internet services.

  • Gabe

    Suggest you take a look at George Orwell’s rules for effective writing. Would help here.

  • Chris L

    @20: Yes the old iPhones will be upgraded for free.

    I will attempt to summarize Gillmor’s essay: The iPhone is the perfect way for your boss to have your balls in his fist 24 hours a day. Also be prepared for up-to-the-second updates whenever your friends and co-workers sneeze or take a dump. Somehow, there will be a lot of money to be made here.

  • Mark Hendrickson

    @ damon – thanks for pointing that out; we’ll get it fixed

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