Alphabet is shutting down Loon after concluding the business, which offers balloons as an alternative to cell towers, is not commercially viable, Google’s parent company said last week. Founded in 2011, Loon aimed to bring connectivity to areas of the world where building cell towers is too expensive or treacherous using balloons. But, surging demand for mobile connectivity made has towers much more cost-effective in more of the world.
Class discussion: Was using balloons to provide cell phone service just a loony idea? Or, did it fill a real need at the time? Hundreds of small satellites are being shot into orbit to provide broadband internet service. Do you think that such a satellite system could become obsolete in the future? Can companies be too innovative? What are the risks of not being innovative enough? For instance, are auto companies smart to spend billions to develop electric cars?