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The redoubtable Brett Brennan gives us some historical context:

There, I've said the one word that no one seems to mention when talking about Microsoft. But the similarities are rampant - and, I believe, the outcome for MS is as inevitable as it was for Big Blue.

Thirty years ago IBM was the dominant monopoly in Computing. It was a simpler time: there was no web, communications were limited to leased lines at 56Kbps, the hot protocol was SNA, RJE was a very real way to connect remote users. And Justice was deep in a lawsuit to try and break up the IBM monolith.

Then something happened that no one could have or did predict, or even suspect: IBM launched a "virus" that destroyed its monopoly in less than a decade and catapulted Microsoft to the forefront of the computing world. The "virus" was the IBM PC.

Now, I'm not going to belabor the point about the PC being a paradigm shift. Everyone knows that - now. What no one observed at the time, and IBM could only try to address from its mainframe-centric view point, was the unfulfilled need that was bubbling - visibly if you knew what to look for (and some of us did - but we were looking the wrong way) - the need for more access to the resources that were trapped in the mainframe. Once the data was freed - by moving it to the PC and using tools like Visicalc or Lotus 123 - the mainframe became less of temple for getting "knowledge", and more of a "grocery store" for picking up the pieces you needed to "cook" your data at your desk.

We're at the brink of a similar paradigm shift today. The "user" community is frothing with unsatisfied needs, yet the mainstream vendors can not deliver the tools to solve these needs in a timely manner. Hence all the "gloop" of Web 2.0, of more and more protocols, tools, languages and forums full of frustration as the "users" begin to see that they can't get there from here.

Unless Microsoft, Apple, Google, and all the rest of the "Big" companies create something that releases the user from having to either become a techie or settle for the frustration of "not quite right" solutions, someone new will arrive on the scene and produce the panacea that is being demanded. The "Blogosphere zombies" are a symptom, as are most of the Web 2.0 applications. The catharsis of blogging (think: group therapy) or the plethora of meaningless applications like Facebook or even Salesforce.com are steam rising off of the boiling pot of pent up frustration with the Web and the world of computing.

And when the "New World Order" of computing arrives, Microsoft, Google and the rest won't recognize it for what it is until it's too late - for them.

George reminds us that "the Freemasons have been the establishment, including US Presidents from Washington to at least Truman. Hell, there are Masonic symbols on the back of the dollar bill."

Indeed.

And finally, aManFromMars adds:

"The 'Internet Platform'... does not even exist, much less constitute for the foreseeable future a practical or viable alternative to the desktop platform," responds Alepin, in a filing made the same day.” ……

Wow, has he got a mountain to climb... to find Microsoft at the summit entertaining allcomers as guests in specially prepared suites.

Which is a lovely metaphor. But I couldn't understand the rest. ®

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