Thursday, July 09, 2009

Chrome OS, the user experience, storage, and software prices

This week started with a bang when Google announced they would create an OS-like version of Chrome designed to displace the traditional OS and initially targeted at netbooks. Given the coverage in the press, the world seems to have a short memory. You couldn't swing a dead cat back in the mid 1990's without hitting a similar strategy--specifically from Sun. Granted, the implementation is different here. Sun wanted to use the Java VM on the hardware and run a web browser on top of it, whereas Google wants to run the web browser on the hardware, and rely on apps on top of that. But the limitations and criteria for success are the same. They will need to convince users that everything they need is on the web. This simply wasn't possible in 1996. Will it be possible now?

This is a nice piece about how new and profitable user experiences can be created from existing technologies. I'm interested in other examples of this. One that pops to mind might be the story of the Ford Mustang.

There are some amazing things happening in storage right now. Prices continue to plummet while simultaneously offering more sophisticated technology. Granted, this is a general trend for any technology sector, but seems to be most disruptive to storage today.

I can't read this piece about intellectual property being free without thinking of software prices. If one could measure software complexity in quantifiable terms (like we do transistors on a processor), the complexity increase in software vs cost would put Moore's Law to shame. There is nothing tangible to prop up prices for any intellectual property (including software). Prices will always fall--deal with it. You only have three choices to sustain growth in a software business: high volume, very low prices (think Apple iPhone apps or MS Office), own a platform (sometimes a prerequisite for choice number 1--think Apple and Microsoft), or bundle software with other high margin offerings (like services--think Oracle or IBM). This natural progression of software prices to near zero is going to be extremely disruptive to the video surveillance industry in the near future.


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