Subject: Re: the value chain
From: Bernard Lang <>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 15:12:01 +0100

On Thu, Dec 09, 1999 at 10:54:43AM -0500, Jean Camp wrote:
> I have had this thought several times so it must be either a recurring
> nightmare or something of reason.
> Perhaps value is moving up the stack. From physical (the phone co, the
> telegraph wires) all the way up to services (which would be above
> applications).
> At the turn of the century and into the fifties the values were in the
> wires. One big monopoly charged for the wires. It was the natural choke
> point.
> Then value was in the big hardware. Altho this may be hard to argue because
> IBM was combining everything service, s/w, h/w into one big IBM price.
> Then the value in the eighties was in the little boxes.
> Then the value was in the the O/S on the little boxes.
> Now many argue that the value is in the Apps.
> The OS/FS companies argue (explicitly stated or implictly in business plan)
> that the value is in the service.  Which would be the next step natually
> after apps.
> This would, nicely enough, argue for the long term success of OS/FS.
> -Jean

I thought about that about 10 years ago. My answer was different:

The value will be in the data.

... and the later moves to enforce stronger property rights on data
bases do not seem to disprove me.

Service is important, but you do not become rich on service ... you
have to feed people.

The way to be rich, like the robber baron of the middle-age, or more
recent times, is to control an important passageway and to force
everyone to pay toll.


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