The Evolution Of The Netbook/Cloud Computing, Again, Shows The Difference Between Invention And Innovation

from the and-which-is-more-important dept

Rik alerts us to a recent Wired Magazine article that goes through Larry Ellison's failed attempts at building a cheap computer (the network computer -- or NC) that would mainly be used for internet access. That history is pretty well known. Ellison -- in large part inspired by jealousy of Bill Gates -- declared that the PC was dead, and in its place people would prefer to use a stripped down computer with everything on the internet instead. It got a ton of buzz, and lots of people expressed interest. But the product was a flop. A massive flop. And yet... here we are today, and more and more applications are online only, and the success of cheap netbooks have more than matched some of the original vision of the network computer. As the article explains:
We tend to think of technology as a steady march, a progression of increasingly better mousetraps that succeed based on their merits. But in the end, evolution may provide a better model for how technological battles are won. One mutation does not, by itself, define progress. Instead, it creates another potential path for development, sparking additional changes and improvements until one finally breaks through and establishes a new organism.
That is the process of innovation. And yet, we tend to only celebrate the invention -- the first idea -- rather than all the evolutionary process that it takes to make something successful. Things like patents tend to block that evolutionary process by limiting the pace at which those mutations and developments can occur. They slow down innovation, rather than letting it flow, by putting an arbitrary wall around each new step, rather than letting the evolution proceed uninhibited. We may get the innovation eventually, but at a much slower pace than we might otherwise.

Filed Under: cloud computing, innovation, invention, larry ellison, netbooks
Companies: oracle


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  1. identicon
    The future is Star trek, 28 Dec 2009 @ 7:35pm

    The whole system needs a Star Trek overhaul

    Ever notice that roddenberry's original universe before unniversal destroyed it, a replicator could virtually make anyhting and thus basically eradicated copyright?

    ya know one day it prolly will get made but not before another "cultural revolution" happens. This time fo rdemocracy

    that recent global warming debacle shows what happens when we put scientists into the make money system for science. THAT NEEDS TO END. IF you invent something useful perhaps you get a 5 year patent or 5 year copyright.

    THATS ENOUGH. AND i will add that if the evil corporations just sit back wait till copyright is done then make tons a money we could add a screw over clause that says should from 5-15 years a corporation ( not individual ) makes ANY money then the original author or creator gets 50% of that profit. One could easily eradicate the corporations form having copyrights and patents. Also any corporate entity that makes no product cannot simply hold copyrights or patents. ALSO add to that if they make a product ( ending a loop hole to begin with ) it must be of the copyright and of the patent. SO an RIAA could not exist, nor could a SONY etc.
    We don't need them any how.

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