Why, Forbes, that is a clever theory on "waves of computing" you have there! It reminds us of the theory published last July in competing magazine Business 2.0!
Roughly speaking, the history of computing has unrolled in four major waves....Now comes computing's fifth wave....The fifth wave puts computing everywhere.
The history of high tech is marked by three big waves....Now comes the fourth wave, as computing costs ratchet down yet again.
After the jump, we give the extended version, which shows just how closely Forbes ripped off (or coincidentally and uncannily resembled, at least) Business 2.0.
Business 2.0, July 2005:
Roughly speaking, the history of computing has unrolled in four major waves. The first came in the 1960s, as mainframe computers advanced into the corporate world and became essential business tools. The 1970s saw the wide adoption of the minicomputer. Then came the personal computer in the '80s, followed in the '90s by networking and the Internet, and the spread of distributed computing. Each successive wave of technology brought with it giant leaps in productivity and huge increases in spending. Each transition lifted some companies (think IBM, Microsoft, Yahoo, Google) and swamped those that couldn't adapt (think Wang and Digital Equipment).
Now comes computing's fifth wave. It's different from the sea changes that came before it. For the first time, the shift isn't driven primarily by a single piece of hardware or by how corporations deploy it. Instead, it results from the unprecedented coalescence of three powerful technological forces: cheap and ubiquitous computing devices, from PCs to cell phones to tiny but potent systems that are beginning to show up in everything from bedroom lamps to key chains; low-cost and omnipresent bandwidth; and open standards—not just Linux source code but the opening of other software as well as corporate databases. The fifth wave puts computing everywhere. It offers access to limitless amounts of information, services, and entertainment. All the time. Everywhere.
Forbes's "The New Barbarians...":
Yet the advantages of the Cheap Revolution are so compelling that nothing is likely to thwart this shift—and this time customers themselves are leading the pack. The history of high tech is marked by three big waves. First came mainframes, which ruled in the 1950s and 1960s. They began to give way in the 1970s to the second wave: less costly midrange minicomputers. By the late 1980s minicomputers were being pushed out by the third wave: networks of pcs and Unix-based servers. Each iteration wiped out past leaders and created new giants. Amdahl all but vanished when mainframes collapsed; midrange makers Digital Equipment Corp. and Data General rose to take its place. Then Digital and Data General were wiped out by the likes of Compaq, Dell and Microsoft in pcs and Sun Microsystems in Unix servers.
Now comes the fourth wave, as computing costs ratchet down yet again. Sun Micro and other purveyors of proprietary designs were immune to the threat for years because off-the-shelf chips from Intel and amd weren't yet strong enough to compete head-on. But today's PC microprocessors, lashed together by the dozens, cheaply outgun the specialized chip engines that powered Sun, SGI and others. Linux, the MySQL database and other low-cost open-source software, first created by amateurs, have evolved at Internet speed and are now polished enough to rival products from Microsoft and Oracle. Systems assembled with these elements cost 90% less than last-generation systems, yet can run faster and are more reliable.