"For a decade or more Microsoft?s monopoly of PC operating
systems gave it a stranglehold on computing. The technologies now
shaping the Internet mean that a single software company is
unlikely again to attain such dominance ...the Internet
promises to create a world in which no firm ever again has the
power of a Microsoft or an IBM."
"These technologies are quite unlike the PC operating system.
That is the intellectual property of Microsoft, but the Internet
employs standards and protocols that are 'open', meaning they can
be freely used by anyone. They have mostly been hammered out in
public forums, and they are beyond the control of any single firm.
The operating system is the control centre of the PC, but the
Internet is managed at many levels, some within devices, some on
the network, others at the abstract level of a 'language'.
All this adds hugely to the complexity of the system, but it is
the complexity that distinguishes a market economy from a centrally
planned one. The PC has to evolve to the drumbeat of Microsoft?s
programmers in Redmond, Washington. The Internet, by contrast,
derives its adaptability precisely from its amorphous nature. If a
firm creates and exploits a monopoly over one bit of technology,
somebody, somewhere will think of a road around it."
"With a lab-full of new technologies and protocols, the Internet
is likely to overcome its current drawbacks and continue its march
into every corner of modern life. ...since no single organisation
controls the Internet, every new protocol will have to prove its
worth if it is to be widely adopted. Such an apparently
haphazard way of doing things might seem like the Internet?s fatal
weakness. In fact, it is its greatest strength."