From Habitat to Global Cyberspace

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The decentralization of Global Cyberspace refers to more than just distribution of host processing. It also applies to its development and the services themselves.
Cyberspace will be big, and, as such, must be an open system. No one institution, company, government or other entity can, or should, own it all. By necessity it must be an open environment with open standards. The recent rash of mega‑mergers and strategic al­liances by cable, television, movie, telephone and com­puter companies are all driven by doomed visions of the future of multimedia telecommunications, visions of cen­tralized power rooted in a world of publishing and broad­casting whose business model is wildly inappropriate for Cyberspace. They are all floundering in the resulting con­fusion.
If open, Global Cyberspace will provide a robust in­frastructure which can support any number of services, each connecting to the network whenever and wherever convenient. Likely services would, of course, include the expected range of services, such as entertainment systems like Habitat, various forms of home shopping, ed­ucation, government services, and movie libraries.
However, anyone with a host computer, a telephone connection, and an electronic bank account should be able to launch a service. These services can vary wildly in the products they deliver, the customers they are targeting, their pricing policies, and their presentation and interface conventions. Some services will be adaptations of existing services. Others will be new inventions that we scarcely imagine today, businesses that could only exist in Cyberspace. These services will come in all shapes and sizes. They will all exist together in an electronic marketplace. By providing this marketplace with Habitat‑style social inter­action, we do more than just link machines together. We also link people together.

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