Kevin Werbach is one smart cookie. His Anticipating a post-Web, post-PC world describes the passage from one generation of high-tech to the next. The web will always be important, but the innovators are moving on.
Smart companies understand this change. IBM, you will notice, is no longer touting e-business, its code word for the Web. It has shifted its energy to next-generation developments such as Linux, grid computing and autonomic computing. Microsoft is pouring resources into post-PC and post-Web businesses, understanding that it must make significant long-term bets to prepare for the day when its traditional Windows cash cow disappears. Dell Computer is even going so far as to remove “Computer” from its name. Apple Computer is rapidly moving from an emphasis on easy Internet access to “digital lifestyle” offerings such as photo sharing and music downloads. And America Online, though struggling, knows that it needs to change from the company that gets you on the Web to the company that gets you beyond the Web.
A human generational shift goes along with the technological change. When the Internet burst on the scene, it confronted a technology industry whose reference point was the transition from mainframe to PC, symbolized by the ascendance of Microsoft and downfall of IBM.
Change is no longer measurable by one variable. It arrives in waves of interconnected developments whose relationship we only dimly discern.
That’s what’s happening today. The technologies and concepts generating buzz at industry gatherings like PC Forum, O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference, and Supernova include social software, the semantic Web, Web logs, rich Internet applications, Web services, unlicensed wireless, grid computing, digital identity, broadband media. The more one looks at these developments, the more hidden connections appear. They are pieces of a larger whole, which we don’t yet have words to describe.
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