Here is an absolutely fascinating post I found on the UofC Law Faculty Blog by Professor Randy Picker regarding a new phone that Nokia is introducing that has integrated WiFi/VoIP capability. How awesome would it be to have a phone that can transition seamlessly between the CMRS (Commerical Mobile Retail Services, or cell phone) network and the Internet? Problem is, Nokia is disabling that feature in the US market (or is simply not including it in the phone at all--not clear how Nokia is going to roll this out), presumably because cell phone companies are concerned about the built-in competition it would engender.
Professor Picker asks why the European companies do not have the same concerns about the built-in competition. I would imagine the answer is that, if the companies were left as unregulated as companies in the US, the same thing would happen there.
I wonder whether market discipline will fix this problem. Usually, companies can come up with some bogus paternalistic reason why they have to restrict product choice (like "we are concerned for consumer safety" or "quality would suffer"), but here there is simply no good explanation. Perhaps cell phone companies will raise network security issues or something, but that would be silly.
Anyway, check out the blog post. And the comments are also worth the read.