Your corporate secrets are worthless
Paranoid about corporate espionage? On edge about your company’s creative edge? Worried about the impending BlackBerry restriction? Relax, says Sam Potter – you don’t even have any secrets.
August 1, 2010 1:36 by Samuel Potter
The reason I can’t understand it is, nowadays, technological advances don’t seem to last very long. Competitive advantage, particularly in the technological world, is not what it was. Why? Quite simply, the pace of innovation and development means advances do not stay privileged, secret, or protected for long. If something is unveiled and it works, people will find a way to adopt it themselves, replicate it, imitate it, or use it as a stepping stone to something better. And they will do all this very quickly.
Hours after the iPhone 4 launched, you can be certain one of the gadgets was being pulled apart piece by piece for a factory in the Far East. And not long after that the factory machines swung into operation, and not long after that the first counterfeit versions were on the market.
This is imitation at its most basic, of course – there are many other forms, lots of them far more legitimate. According to Bloomberg, Research In Motion (RIM), the company behind the BlackBerry, is working on its own tablet to rival the iPad. RIM hopes to debut the device in November; the report says it will have roughly the same dimensions as the iPad, and will be called a Blackpad. What’s the betting that somewhere deep in RIM’s HQ an iPad lies in pieces on a work top? Whatever Apple secrets the iPad held were probably cracked long ago.
Ironically, RIM’s BlackBerry is in the news here in the UAE thanks to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s plans to suspend certain services on it, because the high security encryption makes intercepting and monitoring messages near impossible.
In other words, BlackBerry faces the restrictions because its technology – designed to protect corporate privacy – has angered the UAE government.
Why is that so ironic? Because in the modern age, the secrets that technology is protecting are worth far less than they used to be, as RIM’s own Blackpad efforts underline. The truth is that in 2010 the only way a company can stay ahead is by innovating faster than the competition – because the secrets it uncovers won’t stay secret for long. They’re hardly worth all the fuss.
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