What does Facebook have in common with wireless phone companies like AT&T? Both companies try to lock customers in, even if we'd rather take our business elsewhere. Facebook is suing Power.com, a company that gives users a tool to pull copies of their own friends lists, postings and other information out of Facebook so that they can aggregate it with their other social networking platforms.
Similarly, CTIA - The Wireless Association, the trade group for the mobile phone industry, is trying to prevent customers of companies like AT&T Wireless and Sprint from taking their own phones with them when they switch providers. When businesses strive to maintain customer loyalty through improvement to the product or service offered, everyone benefits. But keeping your audience captive by holding hostage something that is valuable to the customer is bad for users and for innovation.
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