The average eschatological prediction is kept vague so as to
keep the prognosticator looking o.k. past any inconveniently missed
dates. In this case, though, Microsoft's Ragnarok (Twilight of the
Bobs?) has been set a little more firmly: possibly the beginning of
"Don't think it's possible? Remember that every
industry occasionally has a major shift. The computer industry has
certainly had shifts. Companies switched from mainframes to
networked PCs when they become more cost effective. They switched
from DOS to Windows applications when they discovered advantages in
the Windows platform. When the Internet became widespread, many
processes changed. These shifts involved changing the software
people used and the way they thought about their needs.
The other major reason this change can and will occur is the
power of openness. In the consumer electronics world, VHS triumphed
over Beta tapes because VHS was an open standard and could be used
by anyone. Beta, even though better, required licenses to be payed
to Sony. In the PC world, remember IBM's Micro Channel Archetecture
(MCA)? It was IBM's attempt to regain advantages over and control
of the PC clone makers. It was certainly technically superior to
the ISA bus of the day, but it failed because no one wanted to pay
IBM the license for every computer that was produced. Well,
Microsoft currently has control over the de-facto operating system,
which gives it much power. Companies are increasingly worried about
this control, based on Microsoft's experiments with software
rentals, proprietary document formats, and restrictive licenses for
OEMs and the public.
Plus, current Open Source platforms have an advantage that VHS
tapes and the ISA architecture did not: They are in many ways
technically superior to Windows, the proprietary system."
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