Interesting post by Nicholas Carr ‘The end of the megapixel war’ describing the phenomenon of ‘overshooting’ in a technology market, using digital cameras as an example:

Competition, in other words, is shifting away from the core technology, as traditionally defined, to design and features. That’s what happens in consumer markets as the underlying product becomes, in essence, a commodity. In industrial markets, where design and features are relatively less important to buyers, competition tends to shift simply to pricing – the lowest cost producer tends to win

It’s interesting applying this perspective to Microsoft in relation to ‘client’ hardware/software (i.e. stuff we use). The competition in the consumer market is predominantly the likes of Apple and Sony. The competition in the business market is open source and its guardian, IBM. The challenge for the I.T. department is the end-user is increasingly as much a consumer as a business user.

Robert Cringely calls out this dichotomy in his predictions for 2006:

…2006 will look completely different whether you are a home or business computer user…

Given so many of us are both, that doesn’t err well for our productivity prospects…

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