Friday, December 10, 2004 - How to Build A Better PC? Don't Give Up. [David Gelernter] - How to Build A Better PC? Don't Give Up. [David Gelernter]: "IBM's move speaks loudly about personal computer technology. So far as IBM can figure, PCs have reached a plateau. IBM can't think of any practical way to sell its PCs for significantly more money than other companies charge. And IBM is no random group of bums off the street. Once upon a time it was the most powerful force in the technology world; it still employs some of the smartest people in the field. If IBM has consigned the personal computer to Commodity Limbo, the prognosis is bad. Which is a shame, even a tragedy -- because the modern PC is in fact a primitive, infuriating nuisance. If the U.S. technology industry actually believes that the PC has grown up and settled down, it is out of touch with reality -- and the consequences could be dangerous to America's economic health.
PCs are roughly a quarter-century old. People who think of them as mature commodities might have thought the same thing about television in the 1970s -- when TV was in fact on the brink of all sorts of revolutions. The airplane was 25 years old in the late 1920s; luckily, airplane companies kept inventing, developing and selling new types. The automobile turned a quarter-century old in the early '20s -- and Henry Ford did consign it to Commodity Limbo. He figured that the Model T was grown-up, settled-down, fully-evolved. He almost wrecked his business, but finally got the message and produced the Model A and a long line of subsequent new designs. Obviously there are big differences between the PC and these other technologies. But there is also a big similarity: all were (or are) destined to take a lot longer than 25 years to reach maturity."

Via Dave Winer

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