The Decline & Fall of IBM

That’s a pretty dramatic headline, don’t you think? It’s also the title of an eBook about IBM I will put on sale here about six weeks from now. IBM is in trouble, you see, serious trouble caused primarily by executive corrosion from within. Not only did Big Blue miss its earnings target last quarter for the first time in years, if the rumors I am hearing are correct the company’s primary response will be to screw U.S. employees even more than they have already.

The rumor I’ve heard is that IBM, which not long ago changed its 401K contribution policy to push what had been a biweekly payment into an annual one right at the end of the year, may have […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 16 — But Wait, There’s More!

MoreFive years after Accidental Empires was published in hardcover and four years after the paperback, we got a chance to do a somewhat revised paperback edition to go with Triumph of the Nerds, my Channel 4/PBS miniseries based on the book. Revision may be too strong a word, because all I was allowed to do was add two extra chapters at the end. This gave me a chance to catch up with some of the major characters, correct a few mistakes, explain what had happened in the intervening half-decade and — oh by the way — finally say something about the Internet.

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!

January […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 15 — Future Computing

minority-reportThere is so much wrong and yet a lot that’s right in this chapter, which was the last one in the original hardcover edition. I don’t know whether to be embarrassed by it or proud. How does computing today compare with my predictions from 1992? 

ACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

FUTURE COMPUTING

Remember Pogo? Pogo was Doonesbury in a swamp, the first political cartoon good enough to make it off the editorial page and into the high-rent district next to the horoscope. Pogo was a ‘possum who looked as if he was dressed for a Harvard class reunion and who acted as the moral conscience for the first […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 14 — Counter-Reformation

os2warpACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

COUNTER-REFORMATION

In Prudhoe Bay, in the oilfields of Alaska’s North Slope, the sun goes down sometime in late November and doesn’t appear again until January, and even then the days are so short that you can celebrate sunrise, high noon, and sunset all with the same cup of coffee. The whole day looks like that sliver of white at the base of your thumbnail.

It’s cold in Prudhoe Bay in the wintertime, colder than I can say or you would believe—so cold that the folks who work for the oil companies start their cars around October and leave them running twenty-four hours a day clear through […]

Accidental Empires, Chapter 9 — Clones

compaqportableACCIDENTAL EMPIRES

CHAPTER NINE

CLONES

It was in the clay room, a closet filled with plastic bags of gray muck at the back of Mr. Ziska’s art room, where I made my move. For the first time ever, I found myself standing alone with Nancy Wilkins, the love of my life, the girl of my dreams. She was a vision in her green and black plaid skirt and white blouse, with little flecks of clay dusted across her glasses. Her blonde hair was in a ponytail, her teeth were in braces, and I was sure—well, pretty sure—that she was wearing a bra.

“Run away with me, Nancy,” I said, wrapping […]