Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson is a visiting fellow at AEI's Center for Internet, Communications, and Technology Policy and president of Entropy Economics LLC, a strategic research firm specializing in technology, innovation, and the global economy. He advises investors and technology companies, focusing on the Internet ecosystem and the broadband networks and applications that drive it. Swanson is also a scholar at the US Chamber of Commerce Foundation, where, since 2005, his research has centered on economic growth and policies that encourage it. For eight years Swanson advised technology investors as executive editor of the Gilder Technology Report and later was a senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, where he directed the Center for Global Innovation. Swanson began his career as an aide to former senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) and was then an economic analyst for former representative Jack Kemp (R-NY) at Empower America.
Taylor Swift accepts the Milestone Award at the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Arlington, Texas April 19, 2015. REUTERS

Taylor Swift, Apple, and the regulation of tech titans

Not too long ago, Taylor Swift may have been just a girl in a t-shirt, sitting in the bleachers, as one of her songs has it. But as the father of a teen and two tweens, I’m familiar with the power of Swift’s tunes and her growing business savvy. Very few, however, can go toe to toe with mighty Apple and win so decisively and… swiftly. Yet with a simple blog post on Sunday morning, Swift persuaded Apple to change the trial period policy for its new music streaming service.
Innovation by Shutterstock

The one thing that can stop Moore’s Law: Title II Internet regulation

Gordon Moore’s prediction of exponentially growing computer power, based on the silicon integrated circuit, is 50 years old this month. The technical and economic achievements of Moore's law are astounding. When Moore used pen and graph paper to plot those first few data points in April 1965, for example, a leading-edge microchip contained 60 transistors. Today, Nvidia’s most advanced graphics chip for video games has eight billion transistors. Until the year 2000, this single gaming chip would have qualified as the world’s fastest supercomputer. Moore’s law gave birth to or otherwise enabled most of the past half century’s great innovations, including the PC, the Internet, the smartphone, and the entire world of software apps and services. What happens when we change the regulatory environment of something that is working this well? Looks like we’re about to find out.
Internet boom by

The FCC votes to regulate a booming Internet; AEI welcomes Rep. Greg Walden to discuss the next chapter

Seventy-three private firms, according to The Wall Street Journal, are now members of “the billion-dollar startup club.” Fifty of these start-ups are American, and a number of them have recently achieved valuations of $10, $20, even $40 billion.

The total value of the 50 US club members is $223.9 billion and does not include the 10 club members that went public or were acquired in 2014. Many US public technology firms are, likewise,...

AppleProducts by

Apple launches 29 quintillion transistors into the information economy

In the final three months of 2014, customers around the world bought 74.5 million Apple iPhones, 21.4 million iPads, and 5.5 million Mac computers. That’s 765 Apple product sales every minute for an entire quarter, and Apple’s $18 billion profit was an all-time record for any firm. The Chinese bought $16.4 billion worth of iPhones, and 65 percent of Apple’s sales were outside the US. Information technology is a powerful American export, and its spread around the world is a central factor in a rising global middle class. Digital cost-performance increases don’t just make today’s products a little better or a little cheaper for today’s consumers. No, they create new products, new markets, and give hundreds of millions of new consumers previously unimaginable computational and communicational power. Just how much computing power do these 101.4 million Apple products, sold in just one quarter, represent?
Broadband by Shutterstock

Broadband facts: GON with the wind

Yesterday, President Obama visited Cedar Falls, Iowa, to promote government-run broadband networks. On Tuesday, he gave a preview of the speech from the Oval Office. We need to help cities and towns build their own networks, he said, because the US has fallen behind the rest of the world. He pointed to a chart on his iPad, which showed many big US cities trailing Paris, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Seoul in broadband speeds. Amazingly, however, some small US towns with government-owned broadband networks matched these world leaders with their taxpayer-funded deployment of gigabit broadband. I wish I could find a more polite way to say this, but the President’s chart is utter nonsense.