Saturday, January 8, 2011

Scattergun predictions from Bruce Sterling

From brainstorming session on the Well.

*Right now, Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are all competing,
not in the market, but in rendering one another irrelevant.

*The victory condition for Google is a Google browser OS where Apple,
Facebook and Microsoft rot away like GeoCities. Because they have
become meaningless. The things they sell to stay alive, Google gives
away like so much free disk space.

*Apple's victory condition is sleek, chrome-lined walled garden where
everybody seeks shelter. Because the rest of the IT world is so badly
designed and so dysfunctional that no one can make any money there.

*Microsoft is the arrogant monopoly that pioneered in "knifing the
baby" and "stealing the oxygen."

*Facebook redefines the whole shebang as cozy sociality, and then
makes you sell your wife, kids, colleagues and best friends to Goldman

*Then there's the free-software guys. They've got the political
mindshare of anarchists or gypsies, but they've always been around.
They're not going away, and it may be that time is on their side.

*I don't weep in my beer about this. It's fascinating to watch a
paradigmatic combat that is so unlike any 20th-century capitalist
struggle. But obviously that situation is radically unstable. The
participants there are trying to destroy one another's very reasons for
being. They don't want the opponent to have less market-share. They
want them to vanish. To vaporize. Forever.

*And when that paradigm does vanish -- and you were committed to
participating in that? -- your works fold up and go away, like so many
Delicious links.

*"Delicious folded? Why wasn't I consulted?" Consult away, pal. You
might consult about CompuServe, while you're at it.

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