Robert Cringely's latest column spends the first half clearing up the myth of the Osborne Effect. Lots of people (including us) were discussing the Osborne Effect, following Steve Jobs' announcement about switching to Intel processors in a year. However, according to Cringely, it wasn't the pre-announcement that killed Osborne. Instead, it was the fact that the cheaper Kaypro system had a much bigger screen than any Osborne machine -- and people valued that bigger screen much more than the various other enhancements found in the Osborne machine. Sounds quite similar to the real reason that VHS beat the betamax. While the common story is that the VHS was an inferior technology that still happened to win out, it was another case where marketers failed to understand what people found really valuable about what they were selling. The VHS could record more. And that feature, like the larger screen on the Kaypro, apparently, was what helped it win the competition.
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