Is Bluetooth Doomed?

by David Sims

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Bluetooth is as good as dead, according to Benchmark Capital venture capitalist J. William Gurley, who writes in a CNET column on Monday that the technology has been rendered obsolete before it ever worked the bugs out.

Gurley compares the string of defensive Bluetooth articles over the past year (with headlines like "Don't Write Off Bluetooth") to the hopeful whining of the plague-stricken villager in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," who cries out, "I'm not quite dead" -- when we all know where things are leading.

But bad press isn't killing Bluetooth. Gurley writes that the concept of Bluetooth's Personal Area Network -- a short-range wireless connection between devices such as a mobile phone, PDA and laptop -- is already outdated, given that most of these devices already connect to a larger network, the Internet, 'cable replacement' is simply not needed, as the cable itself was on the verge of obsolescence."

Like thousands of observers, I've been hopeful that the personal area network would emerge as something like the USB of wireless, an easy and universal link that takes the headache out of connecting peripherals. But Gurley drives the nail into the coffin at the column's end, explaining that to use the Bluetooth capability in Motorola's new Timeport 270c, one must buy a $299 connectivity kit that includes a module for the phone and a PC card. "Seems like a lot of work to replace a cable."

Read Gurley's column,
"Bye-bye, Bluetooth."