The game-changing technology of the iPad and WikiLeaks fast became part of the world zeitgeist this year. Under normal circumstances disruptive technology is a stand-alone innovation setting a new path for technology that went before. If iPad disrupted the laptop and eReader industries, and WikiLeaks was a political game-changer in the world of journalism - how did they cross paths to motivate one to reject the other?
Due to an odd twist of fate, when the lines of both technologies intersected in an eCommerce store called iTunes, Apple saw fit to join the ranks of Paypal, Visa, Amazon and other corporations in pulling the rug out from under Julian Assange's controversial break-through.
Disruptive technology is a term coined by Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen author of "The Innovator's Dilemma" to describe a new technology that unexpectedly displaces an established technology.
Using real-world examples to illustrate his point, Christensen demonstrates how it is not unusual for a big corporation to dismiss the value of a disruptive technology because it does not reinforce current company goals, only to be blindsided as the technology matures, gains a larger audience and marketshare, and threatens the status quo. Both iPad and WikiLeaks have successfully met that criteria.
IPad's success as a major game-changer spawned an entirely new category of computing devices. To date, no one has been able to come up with anything close to an iPad killer, though many have tried -- including Samsung with its large ad spend on TV over the holidays.
Julian AssangeWikiLeaks has also proven itself to be a game-changing technology. According to Dave Gamble's Skeptical Science report, it is "the journalistic equivalent of a thermonuclear device (having) just been dropped." Its founder was a runner-up to Mark Zuckerberg for Time's coveted title of "Person of the Year." - and whether he is to be considered a hero or a villain is probably 50/50 if one was to take a formal vote today.
Unfortunately the government's attempt to quash WikiLeaks violates certain constitutional rights such as freedom of speech as well as the net neutrality of the Internet. So while it's not clear what authoritative action will be taken, Assange's supporters now have a redundant network of servers around the world to assure that the data remains available, whether or not WikiLeaks is forced to close shop.
However that has not stopped corporations like Apple to eradicate WikiLeaks from its data-mine fields, namely iTunes app store. This week, it banned the WikiLeaks app based on the belief that it has violated United States laws and put into "harms way" the lives of individuals.
In start contrast, more than six WikiLeaks-friendly apps are still kept alive and kicking on Google Inc.'s Android app store. Reuters reported that among these apps which are still offered by Google, one provides direct access to WikiLeaks-released cables. Additionally, WikiLeaks Twitter account with over 613,000 followers (as of this posting) still remains in operation with tweeted updates posted as late as December 28.
So, readers - how do you weigh in on Apple's decision to pull the plug on WikiLeaks? Do you agree that corporations and governments have the right to become judge and jury? And will this move affect Apple's iPad sales going forward?