Synopses & Reviews
"In this important book, Greenstein draws on economics, business history, and the history of technology to tell a story of disruption on a grand scale. He shows how outsiders to the information and communications technology establishment brought the Internet from its techie origins to its current role as an economic growth engine."--Timothy Bresnahan, Stanford University
"With this engaging account of the Internet's origins and innovative explosion, Shane Greenstein cements his claim as the foremost economic historian of digital technology. An essential read for all who want to understand the miracle of our lifetime."--Joshua Gans, University of Toronto
"Greenstein offers a powerful and lucid account of the way the Internet's exceptional growth arose from unexceptional economic forces. How the Internet Became Commercial is a foundational read for anyone wanting to understand the origins and dynamics of the mainstream Internet."--Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law School
"The Internet and its applications are transforming business and commerce. There is no economist on the planet who has done more to document its economic origins, evolution, and implications than Shane Greenstein. This book should be required reading for any serious student of the topic."--Erik Brynjolfsson, director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy and coauthor of The Second Machine Age
"The Internet has affected our lives profoundly over the past quarter-century. Yet far too often, its features are taken as given, without understanding the genesis of this critical innovation. Shane Greenstein's book lucidly illustrates the key decisions behind today's Internet, and offers lessons for innovation policy more generally."--Josh Lerner, Harvard Business School
"Greenstein has written one of the most important books available about how the Internet came into existence, commercialized, and became so important in American life. It will be the standard work on the subject for many years. It is also a great read."--James W. Cortada, author of The Essential Manager: How to Thrive in the Global Information Jungle
"This book starts at the moment when most histories of the Internet end, providing a comprehensive and engaging explanation of how an academically oriented research network transformed so quickly and completely into the commercial infrastructure of the early twenty-first century."--Nathan L. Ensmenger, author of The Computer Boys Take Over: Computers, Programmers, and the Politics of Technical Expertise
This study for general readers mixes stories, key figures,institutions, economic insight, and lessons in innovation to chart the development and commercialization of the Internet in the US,emphasizing how innovation from those working outside of the mainstream of business and technology forced insiders to adapt to newbusiness models and markets. Discussion encompasses the connections between innovation and commercialization and innovation’stransformative role in the restructuring of industries. There is special focus on whether US government policy helped or inhibited thedevelopment of the Internet. Each chapter begins with a real life story and concludes with general economic insights and lessons. B&w photos of key figures are included.Annotation ©2016 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)
The Description for this book, How the Internet Became Commercial: Innovation, Privatization, and the Birth of a New Network, will be forthcoming.
In less than a decade, the Internet went from being a series of loosely connected networks used by universities and the military to the powerful commercial engine it is today. This book describes how many of the key innovations that made this possible came from entrepreneurs and iconoclasts who were outside the mainstream--and how the commercialization of the Internet was by no means a foregone conclusion at its outset.
Shane Greenstein traces the evolution of the Internet from government ownership to privatization to the commercial Internet we know today. This is a story of innovation from the edges. Greenstein shows how mainstream service providers that had traditionally been leaders in the old-market economy became threatened by innovations from industry outsiders who saw economic opportunities where others didn't--and how these mainstream firms had no choice but to innovate themselves. New models were tried: some succeeded, some failed. Commercial markets turned innovations into valuable products and services as the Internet evolved in those markets. New business processes had to be created from scratch as a network originally intended for research and military defense had to deal with network interconnectivity, the needs of commercial users, and a host of challenges with implementing innovative new services.
How the Internet Became Commercial demonstrates how, without any central authority, a unique and vibrant interplay between government and private industry transformed the Internet.
About the Author
Shane Greenstein is the Kellogg Chair in Information Technology and professor of management and strategy at Northwestern Universitys Kellogg School of Management, and codirector of the program on the economics of digitization at the National Bureau of Economic Research. His books include Diamonds Are Forever, Computers Are Not and Standards and Public Policy.
Table of Contents
1 Ubiquitous Clicks and How It All Started 3
THE TRANSITION 31
2 The White House Did Not Call 33
3 Honest Policy Wonks 65
4 A Taste of Champaign 97
5 Unleashing Commercial Iconoclasts 130
THE BLOSSOMING 157
6 How Not to Start a Gold Rush 159
7 Platforms at the Core and Periphery 187
8 Overcoming Two Conundrums 215
9 Virulent Word of Mouse 243
10 Capital Deepening and Complements 272
EXPLORATION AND RENEWAL 301
11 Bill Votes with a Veto 303
12 Internet Exceptionalism Runs Rampant 335
13 The Paradox of the Prevailing View 365
14 The High Cost of a Cheap Lesson in Wireless Access 392
15 Enabling Innovation from the Edges 419