WSJ – Why AT&T Killed Google Voice

Andy Kessler writes in the Journal today about how a commercial arrangement between companies producing complementary products (wireless service and wireless handsets) can shut out an innovative competitor which requires access to established infrastructure to provide a competing service.

One can’t really expect Goliath to feed David knowing full well what will happen in battle, but this reminds me of a paper I wrote while at NYU in 1996 about the impact packet switching technology would have on prices for long-distance telephone service. The paper looks sort of prescient after 12 years, since it predicted a sharp fall in prices and furious lobbying by wireline providers to restrict alternate voice providers access to call completion (i.e. the last mile).

WSJ – The New American Dream: Renting

The WSJ has an article by Thomas Sugrue about America’s long fascination with home-ownership. It’s an illuminating piece and a good overview of the history of government supported home-ownership programs in the 20th century in the US, including some commentary on how certain populations were discriminated against. One aspect the article does not explore is how home-ownership reduces labor mobility and tends to increase commuting times, the Economist wrote on this subject not too long ago.