I.T. or Entertainment

I.T. or Entertainment

CTIA Wireless I.T. & Entertainment is often characterized as a show that struggles to find itself because it attempts to focus on two seemingly disparate themes: I.T. & Entertainment. This year: Not so. It has found itself. Only the result ended up being rather boring.

On Tuesday, "I.T. Day," Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's keynote speech centered on Microsoft's attempt to bring together a converged platform that spans both the entertainment and enterprise worlds: "People shouldn't have to pick," Ballmer said. "The notion of having four text accounts and five email accounts, that's yesterday's idea--we have to meld these computing models into one, [and] weave together business models in a way that works for [everyone]."

For the rest of the day analysts and journalists at the show picked at Ballmer's claim that people want a device that bridges I.T. & Entertainment, but Microsoft's reps said that's what their research tells them.

Yesterday, "Entertainment Day," as CTIA CEO and president Steve Largent described it, kicked off with a keynote from Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz. (photos) Moskovitz announced that Facebook had inked a deal with one of the largest players in the mobile enterprise space: RIM. The two companies jointly developed a mobile version of Facebook tailored for BlackBerry users, which not only furthers RIM's reach into the consumer market but also helps Facebook tackle the enterprise for the first time in full.

The bridging of I.T. & Entertainment is not a merger I'm looking forward to. I was in college in Boston when Facebook first launched and therefore in the class of some of its first users. That's where I keep my photos from college, messages from friends I'd rather not be held accountable for and other personal information that should remain just that: personal. I've also used LinkedIn for the past few years for connecting to others in the wireless industry. Those two neat buckets have fulfilled whatever minor social networking need I have had. Recently, however, I've noticed an uptick in the number of industry people I know on Facebook. I can only assume that more will come as a result of the RIM deal.

I.T. & Entertainment makes me wish we could go back and replace that ampersand with an "or." -Brian