Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 28th Jun 2012 13:48 UTC, submitted by Kroc
In the News "The failure of Minitel was not one of technology, [...] It was the whole model that was doomed. Basically to set up a service on Minitel, you had to ask permission from France Telecom. You had to go to the old guys who ran the system, and who knew absolutely nothing about innovation. It meant that nothing new could ever happen. Basically, Minitel innovated from 1978 to 1982, and then it stopped." This is what the World Wide Web could one-day look like. Dearth of innovation for the want of permission.
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Comment by phoudoin
by phoudoin on Thu 28th Jun 2012 14:37 UTC
Member since:

Regarding the final forecast, people in France dubbed this doomed Internet "Minitel 2.0".

The Minitel network is closing June, 30th.

These days, one of the most aggressive competitor of France Telecom historic operator (now under the Orange brand) was once a (very profitable) sex-chat Minitel service. Running with France Telecom permission and (commissioned) bless.

How ironic.

Edited 2012-06-28 14:40 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by phoudoin
by zima on Thu 28th Jun 2012 15:29 UTC in reply to "Comment by phoudoin"
zima Member since:

How much of a failure Minitel really was, anyway? Yes, maybe it didn't turn out long-term viable, but some (hm, mostly the British?... ;) ) seem to make too big deal out of it - in the meantime, Minitel was quite successful, apparently by far the most successful such service, when the rest of the world had... almost nothing.

And did it negatively impact French internet in any significant way, comparably to neighbours? (in the recent discussion about Minitel matako points out "this article from 1995 claims that (at the time) " France now boasts one of the world's more significant growth curves in Internet usage." ")

BTW, I stumbled there on a nice 1990 documentary about Minitel (overall, all those Computer Chronicles episodes)

5 minutes mark - apparently the major (main?) motivation behind Minitel was to replace paper phonebooks, which were being quickly obsoleted due to rapid expansion of telephone network. I'd say it nicely expanded further from that usage scenario as it did - at 7 minutes, quite a few services; even "Amazon" at 9m. Maybe even things did happen, like that mentioned forum or chat of sorts to French politicians, or to Romania when their revolution unfolded.

Is France among the few places where ISDN saw wide adoption?

(funny journey to the past at the end - upcoming première of Win 3.0, with "3D on-screen look"! ...and a mention of contemporary tablet )

Edited 2012-06-28 15:36 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Minitel was a successful system for years
by benali72 on Thu 28th Jun 2012 17:02 UTC
Member since:

Minitel didn't fail! It was used by millions for over twenty years. I get your point, tho. Perhaps Minitel would have evolved into the first internet if innovation had not been stifled through control.

Reply Score: 1

KLU9 Member since:

Minitel didn't fail? Is that why it's being shut down? Because it's so successful? And when it was tried elsewhere (e.g. Ireland) where people would actually have had to pay for the equipment (unlike getting it for free as in France), practically nobody went for it, is that another defining characteristic of success?

Reply Score: 0

cyrilleberger Member since:

It is shut down because it has been replaced by something better. But in 1978, there was nothing better. The world wide web was only invented 10 years later.

It would be like saying "postal services" failed because in 2012 everybody use emails.

Reply Score: 2

I wish
by windowshasyou on Fri 29th Jun 2012 04:10 UTC
Member since:

I wish I had noticed who submitted the article before clicking on the link. It seems like all of Kroc's articles are just plain FUD.

Reply Score: 0

Learn from history? Not so much
by Soulbender on Fri 29th Jun 2012 04:22 UTC
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Basically to set up a service on Minitel, you had to ask permission from France Telecom. You had to go to the old guys who ran the system, and who knew absolutely nothing about innovation.

Isn't this pretty much what a lot of influential companies and organisations want to do with the Internet?

Edited 2012-06-29 04:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Just how most industries work
by Yamin on Fri 29th Jun 2012 18:19 UTC
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So basically, Minitel is how most industries tied to government work...

It just seems odd because of how hands-off most governments have been on the Internet.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Just how most industries work
by zima on Thu 5th Jul 2012 22:42 UTC in reply to "Just how most industries work"
zima Member since:

It's generally not too bad... we really don't want too much experimentation with all kinds of basic infrastructure, or agriculture.
(plus, with many of those innovation can hardly even be in the spotlight any more - it's hard to really innovate with rail or water supply system for example ...except for making their functioning more harmonious and integrated - things we do govs for)

And at least it's not a foregone conclusion at all that the internet with fall under limiting control (but BTW it already greatly benefits from central roll-outs of its kind of infrastructure)

Reply Score: 2