What’s Next in Computing?


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What’s Next in Computing?

The computing industry progresses in two mostly independent cycles: financial and product cycles. There has been a lot of handwringing lately about where we are in the financial cycle. Financial markets get a lot of attention. They tend to fluctuate unpredictably and sometimes wildly. The product cycle by comparison gets relatively little attention, even though it is what actually drives the computing industry forward. We can try to understand and predict the product cycle by studying the past and extrapolating into the future.

New computing eras have occurred every 10–15 years

Tech product cycles are mutually reinforcing interactions between platforms and applications. New platforms enable new applications, which in turn make the new platforms more valuable, creating a positive feedback loop. Smaller, offshoot tech cycles happen all the time, but every once in a while — historically, about every…

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