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the consequences of monopolies

So someone from Red Herring was moderating a panel about the future of software with Microsoft Executives, ex-Microsoft executives, and Executives of companies that operate in Microsoft's orbit in Seattle, and asked them: why is the software industry so depressed? The reply was:
"To a man, they told me that CIOs were punishing the software industry for more than a decade of overpromises and underperformance."
Call it "the effect of spreading FUD." And who exactly has proven to be the master at FUD?  Hmmm...

So what can you sell?

"At the moment, all we can hope to sell is 'must-have,' as opposed to 'nice-to-have' software," Mr. Silverberg glumly told the attendees. What was a must have at the moment? Only two things: ROI software [ROI software is software that either cuts a company's costs or increases its revenues] and connectivity software.

Surprise! Last I checked, things like Operating Systems and Word Processors were also "must have". Is it a coincidence that they don't even mention them? Or is it because --gasp!-- people have no choice but to buy their products?

Then, what about the 'next big thing'?

"What about the next big thing? The panelists rolled their eyes. They said that the very phrase was exhausting, irritating, and irrelevant to software buyers. It smacked of the millenarian optimism of the end of the last decade. It was the last thing they wanted to hear about. Mr. Fitzgerald said he was "a great believer in the theory of 'the mundane future.'" The other panelists gravely nodded.

But after CIOs have finished digesting the software of the 1990s? Surely there would be a next big thing one day? Who knows, they said--maybe the semantic Web? No one, however, could say exactly what the next big thing would be, and nobody seemed to have the energy to look for it"

No wonder Microsoft can't innovate. They don't think there's anything left to do in the computer industry but milk the proverbial cash cow: Windows, Office, etc., and sell some new "communications" software if they are lucky. That's the biggest danger of monopolies: stasis, not high prices. We need change.

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on September 29 2002 at 4:11 PM

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