Four Pillars: More Pillars

Thanks to Jonathan Peterson of for pointing me at Robert X Cringely’s recent post on Google, Microsoft, Intel and Yahoo, whom he terms “the four pillars of personal computing circa 2006“.

I usually agree with most of what Cringely says. For once I’m not sure.

And it’s not because he uses the term Four Pillars either -)

What I’m not sure about is the list of companies he’s put forward. Google. Microsoft. Intel. Yahoo.

Why am I not sure? Five reasons:

1. Generation M will define those pillars. And while Four Pillars for enterprise are still some distance away, Four Pillars for personal computing is now. Generation M is about Samsung and Nokia and Canon and JVC and Sony and some Motorola and yes, a lot of Apple from a hardware viewpoint.

2. The platforms that Generation M will use are those that make mixing things, mangling things, moving things around easier. Generation M has already signalled intent with major resistance to current DRM and IPR. I cannot see Microsoft or Intel or even Apple get away with attempts at putting that particular genie back in the bottle. Flash memory and N-AND RAM and Samsung still have stories to tell.

3. Generation M is already about co-creation, taking opensource and democratised innovation to new heights. They are into community, into sharing. They make things like facebook and youtube and bittorrent happen. None of the four companies mentioned is a leading light in the opensource world or in true community creation. Not even Google.

4. Generation M seems to have critical mass in places like India and China, and those markets are different yet again. It’s instructive to watch Samsung and Nokia in there.

5. Generation M is about mobility. And we have yet to see the end of the Net Neutrality and IMS debate. What is certain is that Generation M will reject the deals that regulators and incumbents come up with. Enough said.

Cringely may be right, and maybe I’m being too pedantic. Intel through Apple. Yahoo through Flickr. Google through being the new what-passes-for-a-platform. And Microsoft through XBox……unless Sony, a more appropriate proxy for Microsoft, wins….


Let me know what you think

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