From Hardware to Software to Services


Remember how the shift in value from hardware to software killed off computer-making giants like DEC and Wang in the ’90’s? We now see the value shift from software to services. David Hornik draws a parallel:

…I believe that a new era is upon us in the 2000’s. I believe that we have progressed from the “Computerless Computer Company” to the “Softwareless Software Company.” Taking the evolution of computer company one step further, “computer” companies are no longer about selling software, but rather about delivering services. Hosted services have the distinct advantage of meeting all three of the “new” rules suggested in the Computerless Computer Company: 1) they compete purely as a utility; 2) they monopolize the true sources of added value; and 3) they are designed to deliver the greatest possible sophistication with the simplest possible user experience.

He then points out that the greatest asset for delivering online services is an infinitely scaling data center, the kind the Big Three have been building all over the place. The end of packaged software could come sooner than we think.

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