James F. Booth

For more than 25 years, James Booth has provided consulting and legal services to telecommunications carriers and to enterprise companies that manage their own telecommunications networks. Since June of 2009 he has also served as General Counsel of Spread Networks, LLC, which is the industry leader in the construction and operation of low latency high speed networks. Before joining Spread he was General Counsel for OnFiber Communications, a competitive telecommunications provider, and was the sole attorney for Qwest Communications International in support of its construction of an 18,800 mile fiber optic network spanning the United States. Earlier he was lead counsel for U S WEST in its wireless and cable television ventures in the United States, Europe and Hong Kong.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Steve Jobs, The $60 Light Bulb, And The Future Of Technology

During an Apple earnings call two years ago, the late Steve Jobs made a comment that’s having a profound impact on not only the tech industry but also many other industries whose products and services are becoming infused with and enriched by technology. Jobs was talking about the indispensable value of software, and about how companies that have focused almost exclusively on hardware and have not invested vigorously enough in software will find it increasingly difficult to innovate, to dazzle customers, and to compete. It’s also important to note that the circumstances surrounding Jobs’ remark: while he typically did not participate in Apple’s quarterly earnings calls, he chose to join the call on Oct. 18, 2010 because it marked the first $20-billion quarter in Apple’s history. Last month—just two years after Apple cracked that $20-billion mark—Apple reported quarterly revenue of $36 billion. Clearly, this was a guy who knew what he was talking about. And of all the comments he made during that call, here’s the one that sticks out most in my mind—and it’s the one that connects Apple’s strategy with the $60 light bulb and indeed the entire future of technology:
You’re looking at it wrong. You’re looking at it as a hardware person in a fragmented world. You’re looking it as a hardware manufacturer that doesn’t really know much about software, who doesn’t think about an integrated product, but assumes the software will somehow take care of itself. . . . And you assume that the software will somehow just come alive on this product that you’re dreaming of, but it won’t.