I don't know what the WSJ's Walt Mossberg's singing voice is like, but in today's paper, he does his best Moses impression with an impassioned plea for government and phone companies to let our cell phones go.
A shortsighted and often just plain stupid federal government has allowed itself to be bullied and fooled by a handful of big wireless phone operators for decades now. And the result has been a mobile phone system that is the direct opposite of the PC model. It severely limits consumer choice, stifles innovation, crushes entrepreneurship, and has made the U.S. the laughingstock of the mobile-technology world, just as the cellphone is morphing into a powerful hand-held computer.
Why, he asks, don't wireless carriers function like Internet providers–connecting any PC, running any software, to their service? Then, for good measure, he paints everyone involved with a Red brush.
That's why I refer to the big cellphone carriers as the "Soviet ministries." Like the old bureaucracies of communism, they sit athwart the market, breaking the link between the producers of goods and services and the people who use them.
To some extent, they try to replace the market system, and, like the real Soviet ministries, they are a lousy substitute.