J. William Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark Capital, proclaims that 802.11 is not overhyped, as some would say, but in fact is underhyped: He makes a number of comparisons to technologies such as Ethernet and the x86 computing architecture that have benefited from standardization and become pervasive. He does a nice job of spelling out why standards can make for successful markets--mainly because they lower prices and spur innovation. But everybody already knows that. We also know that 802.11 has clearly benefited from those byproducts of standardization.
His point seems to be that 802.11 has become so strong because customer gear is cheap and big companies continue to improve it, that no other wireless technology will be able to make much headway against it. If 802.11 had a direct non-standard competitor, I'd say that's true. But he points to 802.16, ultrawideband, and cellular. I agree with Techdirt that those technologies aim at different applications and so there isn't an "either/or" situation. [via Techdirt]