Subject: Re: Competition by internal expertise for F/OSS vendors
From: Thomas Lord <>
Date: Sun, 31 Aug 2008 21:46:51 -0700

Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> I should say I am definitely talking FUD, here. 

The best way out of the threat you (correctly, imo) perceive
is to build out of it: for FSBs to <i>be the winners in the
"appliance computing" revolution.</i>

I think you are right that classical personal computing is going
to become (relatively) more expensive -- the same way that
stuff like serious ham radio or serious tube-based guitar amp
hobby stuff became more expensive when demand crashed.

Can't save the classical personal computer industry -- that's
a done deal.

"We" (for yr favorite definition) can win the contest to define
the new appliance computing platform.   "We" (for my favorite
definition) ought to do so.


>  I'm fearful,
> uncertain, and doubtful---not making predictions about what will
> likely come to pass.  I personally would like to try to push against
> the trend that I perceive.
> Russ Nelson writes:
>  > Stephen J. Turnbull writes:
>  >  > I think it's pretty likely that the next generation of phones (the
>  >  > ones that come with the mind-killer of TV) are going to kill
>  >  > personal computers as we know them pretty much dead.  You take your
>  >  > phone home, you put it into its cradle, it provides the brains and
>  >  > connectivity that drive the keyboard and TV^H^Hmonitor on the desk.
>  > 
>  > I'm MUCH less confident of that.  Anything portable is going to have
>  > less resources than anything stationary (just like fiber optic cable
>  > has more bandwidth than anything using a radio).
> Sure.  But what I mean by "as we know them" is "as the least common
> denominator of computing equipment".  We aficionados will still be
> able to get personal computers, but prices will rise/not fall so fast
> as demand and economies of scale decline.  The grandmas and kids who
> today use PCs will not see the point in the very near future, and will
> choose more practical (and substantially more limited) platforms.
> My colleagues who teach the "information resources" courses for
> freshman here in Japan say that in the last two years there has been a
> sharp decline in the number of freshman who know how to use Excel (or
> anything like it), and even a slight decline in the number who come in
> knowing how to use email and Word.  Of course, the number who know how
> to browse the web and send mail and text on their Blackberrys and
> iPhones has seen explosive growth.  The researchers I know in
> computer-aided learning (a small, probably biased, sample) have
> basically abandoned the PC as a platform because they don't expect it
> to be as available and familiar to the students as smart phones.
>  >  > the absolute disaster that Sharp turned the Zaurus into,
>  > 
>  > Sharp's fault, not the platform's fault.
> You style your blog "the angry economist", so you know we need to look
> at whether Sharp was following common incentives, or ignoring them.  I
> fear that Sharp's behavior was consistent with the incentives it was
> facing.