Wired’s Chris Anderson writes this month’s cover story on Free! (Not online yet) He talks about the relentless drive downward in price, as industry after industry succumbs to Moore’s Law. At some point, he says, things get so cheap that the only question is when to lower the price all the way to free (and figure out how some other way to make money). The answer, of course, is to embrace “free” early in the process.
One quibble. At the end of the story, he recalls a utopian prediction from a half century ago that nuclear power would give us nearly free electricity. That didn’t turn out to be the case. But now, he says, digital technologies “have become too cheap to meter.” Yet those meter-less digital technologies all run on fully metered electricity. Google et al give us free services, but pay hundreds of millions of dollars a year to run gazillions of electrons through those server farms (and to pump in enough air-conditioning to keep the machines from vaporizing).