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Microsoft's venture into the Internet is a grave threat but the Internet has faced other attacks in the past and the major problem remains the same now, as it was in the past, and that is ignorance and lack of understanding, by those not involved. Expect to see the Internet and the web continue to expand and develop. More computers and more users will mean that its nature will change, but such was the case with television and today we are seeing a merging of what television did for us and what the computer does for us, both are informing and entertaining, but the computer and its connections, is also a productivity device with a life span of less then three years, so that it is vastly more expensive then television.
The limited life of computers is not well understood by the public, as most people view computers as though they are durable goods, when in fact they are temporary devices designed to accomplish tasks only with the assistance of software that has even a shorter life span then the hardware. This self consuming and temporal distortion is magnified by the consumer who gravitates toward low priced "Intel" based equipment. Supposing you purchased a new computer in 1988, had you purchased an Intel based machine, that would have cost two thirds the price of a Motorola based Apple Macintosh, was less then one quarter as productive in its first two years of life and by 1990 could not use any of the current software of the day, by 1992, it would have been dysfunctional by its obsolescence. The 1988 Macintosh is still in use today running software written in the last twelve months.
The reason for the durability and longevity is related to the underlying software called the operating system (OS). The Macintosh'ssoftware was built to a fixed standard and the computer itself was upgradable, or at least compatible with newer innovations. Now, if we consider the Internet, we immediately realise that this principle is in effect. A web page created in 1994 looks just as good today and works even better then it did when created, the standard of html will insure that compatibility continues and changing technologies of the hardware is less and less significant.
The big question for business today is, when is the best time to enter the Internet market place? For every individual business there is a need to consider the market place they want to access. If you rely upon humans as customers, the likelihood that they will be developing their information base from the tools and material at hand and increasingly this is from the Internet. At one time it was considered that affluence was necessary for people to be using the Internet and owning computers, but that is now simply no longer the case. With the Internet costing less then cable television and computers being about the same price as a good television, more and more families are putting their money into a computer system.
Merging technology
Macintoshs are better
Standards - HTML
More computers more access
Saturday, June 13, 1998