Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ode to the IBM 5150

My parents had a TRS-80
Then mom needed an IBM 5150
Then in college, I borrowed Mac (friends or the universities)
In grad school I bought a 'clone PC' or utilized Sun workstations.
That clone PC went through two hard drives, three motherboards, two monitors, and three video cards. But like an axe where you replace the handle or the head, it was the same. :) Then I went through a pair of laptops. Both of which have helped me buy ebooks.

The 5150 was huge. Without 'the PC,' I doubt computers would be where they are today. It took someone to jump start the industry. It wasn't the first computer nor the last; but it launched an industry. Much like the Amazon Kindle. ;)

My point? Lead, follow, or get out of the way. IBM didn't control any of the software and that pushed them out of the business. Amazon, Apple, Nook (B&N), and Kobo all control the keys to their media. So I wonder if this generation of technology wouldn't be a bit more resistant?

I give the advantage to Amazon. As with the 5150, those were bought because they were a safe bet. With Amazon, their software (ebooks) will run on any platform/OS that will let them. I know of more than a few people who have bought Kindles as it was:
1. Cheap (like the 5150 vs. other business computers)
2. Portable software (5150 to Compaq, Kindle to an app)
3. Market leader (there is a group that feels safe in the pack)

You might be going, why advantage to Amazon? I know of a few who didn't buy Ipads due to 'being locked into the ecosystem.' Amazon isn't doing a 'hard lock.' More of a 'convenience lock' which customers are happy with. For example, there is a reason Netflix is so popular; you don't have to buy their device.

We owe much to the 5150. Without it, there wouldn't be e-readers (in my opinion). 30 years of PCs. It seems like more.


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