For future computing, look (as always) to Star Trek

retinal scan“The step after ubiquity is invisibility,” Al Mandel used to say and it’s true. To see what might be The Next Big Thing in personal computing technology, then, let’s try applying that idea to mobile. How do we make mobile technology invisible?

Google is invisible and while the mobile Internet consists of far more than Google it’s a pretty good proxy for back-end processing and data services in general. Google would love for us all to interface completely through their servers for everything. That’s their goal. Given their determination and deep pockets, I’d say Google — or something like it — will be a major part of the invisible mobile Internet.

The […]

Silicon Valley conquers Hollywood, part 2 — There’s no business like show business

theproducersA friend of mine who is a securities lawyer in New York worked on the 1985 sale of 20th Century Fox by Marvin Davis to Rupert Murdoch. He led a group of New York attorneys to Los Angeles where they spent weeks going over contracts for many Fox films. What they found was that with few exceptions there were no contracts. There were signed letters of intent (agreements to agree) for pictures budgeted at $20-$50 million but almost no actual contracts. Effectively business was being done, movies were being made, and huge sums of money were being transferred on a handshake. That’s how Hollywood tends to do business and it doesn’t go down very well […]

Is the Mac Pro dead?

A rumor surfaced yesterday in Japan that Apple would by the end of the year introduce a radical new kind of Macintosh computer. That was it — new Mac, radical — yet dozens of sites ran with this non-information simply because Apple is a hot company and, who knows, it might be correct. In that same spirit, then, here’s my guess about what might be correct: I think Apple’s Macintosh Pro line of computers is dead.

Mac Pro’s are Apple’s big box PCs. They haven’t been refreshed since last summer and new models were expected this month with the new Minis, but for some reason the new Mac Pro’s failed to appear. Apple said nothing because, well, because Apple never says anything, instead […]

By |August 23rd, 2011|2011|100 Comments

The enemy of my enemy

Nortel Networks, the bankrupt Canadian telecom company, came that much closer to disappearing completely yesterday with the cash sale of its portfolio of 6000 patents for $4.5 billion to a consortium of companies including Apple, EMC, Ericsson, Microsoft, Research In Motion (RIM), and Sony. The bidding, which began with a $900 million offer from Google, went far higher than most observers expected and only ended, I’m guessing, when Google realized that Apple and its partners had deeper pockets and would have paid anything to win. This transaction is a huge blow to Google’s Android platform, which was precisely the consortium’s goal.

Google is the youngest of these companies and has probably the smallest patent portfolio, most […]

By |July 1st, 2011|2011|216 Comments

When Engineers Lie

Twenty years ago, when I was writing Accidental Empires, my book about the PC industry, I included near the beginning a little rant about how good engineers were incapable of lying, because their work relied on Terminal A being positive and not negative and if they lied about such things then nothing would ever work. That was before I learned much about data security, where apparently lying is part of the game. Well, based on recent events at RSA, Lockheed Martin, and other places, I think lying should not be part of the game.

Was there a break-in? Was data stolen? Was there an unencrypted database of SecureID seeds and serial numbers? All we […]

By |June 9th, 2011|2011|99 Comments