[stld-rfp-mobi] Concern: Monopolistic Behavior
In the coming weeks, ICANN will be faced with a critical decision that will effect the Internet community. A powerful coalition led by Nokia and Microsoft has asked ICANN to grant them a new top-level domain (.mobi) for the mobile community. If approved, this could have far reaching consequences.
The Internet, as it exists today, is a model of freedom and creativity without barriers to entry, with equal access and low end-user costs. Despite much criticism, ICANN has done an excellent job of preserving this model. However, today Microsoft and Nokia, two powerful companies that have a dominant position in their respective fields, are teaming up to request the right to set the standard for the mobile industry for the years to come.
The fundamental issue at stake is: can ICANN, an institution that oversees and guards the open and free model of the Internet, grant a .mobi license, which is in itself a legal monopoly, to two companies that already dominate their respective industries?
Before this license is granted, policy makers, regulators, consumer groups and the community of end users should carefully assess the risks involved. The consequences of allowing Microsoft and Nokia to set the standard for this space will impact market innovation and free competition, and it will expose the market to total dominance by an elite few. These effects will surely be felt long into the future.