There was an interesting article in the Register by Ted Dziuba (who has a pretty good take on Chrome OS). What struck me, however, was this quote form Mike Arrington of TechCrunch.
As Mike Arrington says: “The Internet Is Everything. All the OS has to do is boot the damn computer, get me to a browser as fast as possible and then stay the hell out of the way.”
I found it amusing because it’s almost the same thing Marc Andreeson said to me on a conference call more than a decade ago about Netscape. At the time he said Windows was just a collection of device drivers whose sole purpose was to run a Netscape browser. (I’m paraphrasing from memory and not quoting directly. Any of former Gartner colleagues who were on that call, please let me know if I’ve erred in my recollection).
Yep. as the great man said, it’s Deja Vu, all over again. I don’t know Mike and I’ve never discussed his position with him. And perhaps to Mike, the Internet is *everything* and he can do all his work, communication and entertainment in a browser. I know for sure I can’t, even though connectivity is important to many applications I use, the browser itself leaves a lot to be desired. Even web based services like Twitter work better for me through an application like Tweetie as opposed to the the Twitter site (and a lot of user data suggests I’m not alone in this thinking).
People have been predicting the death of the PC along with Windows and Mac OS for more than a decade. Like the news of Mark Twain’s death, the reports of the demise of the PC applications architecture are greatly exaggerated. Sure the web is great, browsers are important and there’s more functionality than ever before delivered through this medium. But that’s doesn’t mean that the web and the PC are mutually exclusive. One of the great ironies of the whole network computing paradigm of a decade ago (which Mike Arrington restates) was that the best vehicle for network computing and the Internet turned out to be the personal computer. That’s something that hasn’t changed and I expect most users enjoy the best of both world. The richness and diversity of PC applications combined with the best of what the Internet has to offer. It’s not one or the other but both together that create the optimum user experience.