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 […]

Apple's Money

All of us were reminded over and over and over during the last few days that Apple has more cash on hand than does the U.S. government. This coincidence means precisely nothing to either outfit.  We won’t see President Obama asking Steve Jobs for a loan, nor will we see Steve Jobs offering one. Yes, the government is broke and yes, Apple has a lot of cash. But GE has almost $50 billion more than Apple, so where are all the GE stories?

There’s a mystery about Apple’s cash and that mystery has to do with Steve’s strategy for holding all that money.  What’s it for? The predominant theory seems to be that Apple intends to make a huge acquisition and […]

By |August 1st, 2011|2011|158 Comments

And Then Along Comes Larry….

There’s a premise in big business that no single person is essential to the success of an organization. If I die on the job, microscopic cringely.com dies with me, sure, but if Steve Ballmer kicks-off during a sales meeting tirade, Microsoft will move smoothly onward, or so the idea goes — as far as it goes. Because of course it is frequently wrong. There are many instances where a single person can bring about a sea change in a company or an industry. In the 19th century that meant John D. Rockefeller in oil or Andrew Carnegie in steel. In the 21st century it means Steve Jobs at Apple and Pixar, or Larry Ellison at […]

By |December 29th, 2010|2010|85 Comments

The Sun Also Sets

ibm-sunI’m not the biggest fan of Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz. Okay, I am not a fan at all. But I have to give the guy credit for keeping up company morale, because when I polled my Sun contacts recently on why they thought IBM might be interested in buying the company, each thought it was because of his or her division.  What charming — if misguided — loyalty.  These people still feel good about their company.

Of course they are wrong to do so.

I know that Sun walked away from the deal, by the way.  I’m not THAT out of touch with the world. I just think that understanding the Sun mindset might help explain […]