If the value of cloud computing options will be diminished as the result of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy, then personal desktop computing will be more resilient than previously expected.
We think it makes sense to consider the latest cloud computing imperative, which we have characterized as largely driven by Enterprise IT ISVs, within an historical context. In the mid 1980s computing options included lots of reliance on “time sharing” systems. In effect, these “time shares” were precursors of today’s cloud computing, but with a twist. Of course, web browsers were not yet available, therefore, customers of these “time shares” required terminals in order to access these services.
These terminals were, at the outset, actual hardware devices built to connect to mainframe computers, or “mini” computers over data communications protocols delivered over a modem session conducted over a dedicated, or shared, telephone line.
By the mid 1980s, these “time sharing” systems had been around for at least 5 to 10 years. Despite the benefits they delivered — including access for smaller businesses to the same quality software applications used by much larger peers — there was, nevertheless, an emerging interest in “personal” computing. “Personal” computing promised to deliver a wide, and quite flexible, capability to customers to custom fit software applications to highly specific requirement with precisely the user interface required to ensure popularity and high rates of usage.
We don’t think that now, almost 20 years later, the situation has changed that much. In fact, as we see it, the misunderstood market place message is that cloud computing is capable of delivering an even more flexible, attractive user experience than would otherwise be the case with personal computers. How else would one interpret the attractiveness of a service like Facebook, which is really little more than homestead.com on “steriods.”
It is worth taking a moment to look a bit deeper into the Facebook phenomenon. We think that one of the features that Facebook users really like is the promise of invisibility. After all, Facebook maintains a minimal, rather useless search feature. Therefore, Facebook pages can be built for a private audience of “friends.” This privacy is, of course, great for users, but a highly detrimental feature for potential advertisers.
The bottom line, however, as we see it, is that this extensive flexibility purported to be only available through cloud computing options, is, in fact, a ruse. Cloud computing is designed to service multiple users, simultaneously. Therefore, cloud computing is little more than the 2012 version of “time sharing.” True, hardware terminals have been replaced with web browsers, but the inevitable need for a highly custom, flexible, truly personal alternative in the form of a desktop or hand held device still exists.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved