Fractals of Change: The Flattening of Almost Everything #2: Information Retrieval: "The WorldWideWeb is where Moore’s Law met Metcalfe’s Law. Information management – the way we find out what we want to know – went from hierarchical to flat in just a few years as a result. We now assume – usually correctly – that we can find any particular piece of data from a railroad schedule in Estonia to a quote by an Argentine novelist on the Web within minutes of wanting it. We also rely on the web for cross–references (links) to interesting information related to whatever we originally searched for specifically.
Back when I was at Microsoft, Lotus Notes, written by the brilliant Ray Ozzie, was the competitor which worried Bill Gates (and, therefore, the rest of us) the most. Companies were building information management application in Notes. True, Notes ran under Windows, but the danger we saw was that Notes and not Windows would be the platform that developers wrote to. Many of the pundits were saying (hoping) this would happen.
There were several competing efforts under way in Redmond to build the Notes-killer. One of them was mine: Microsoft Exchange Server. Exchange was behind schedule for release when I took it over and slipped even further as we tired to shoehorn in features that would one-up or at least match the information-handling capabilities of Notes. Trouble was that Exchange was also the long-overdue replacement for DOS-based Microsoft Mail."
From Tom Evslin, self-described "retired serial ceo currently writing an historic murder mystery set in the Internet bubble"
I don't agree with everything in the essay, but it's a fascinating perspective. Definitely required reading.