NYTimes writes about the differing views and strategies of the computer industry’s two most powerful firms:
The Internet Act I was mainly about e-mail programs and downloading digital information to look at or listen to – Web pages, animations, video and music. Act II should bring all kinds of automated transactions among businesses and individuals. And those transactions will be able to include a hint of computer-aided intelligence.
An example could be arranging an appointment with your dentist. Your calendar information, with stated time preferences and availability, exchanges data with your dentist’s calendar to automatically set up an appointment. Similarly, companies should someday be able to conduct computer-automated auctions with suppliers. The next-generation Internet can be thought of as the beginning of what researchers have said might be possible with software agents, or bots, performing as human assistants.
The Microsoft vision centers on the individual and technology tools, foreseeing a kind of rerun of the personal computer revolution in the Internet era. I.B.M. sees the computing evolution as helping to free companies from the previous constraints of technology, so they can focus more on using technology to streamline business processes and seek new markets than on the hardware and software itself. One implication, I.B.M. says, is that companies need not have so much internal technology. Instead, they can buy computing and technology services from outside suppliers like I.B.M., almost as if a utility, paying only for what they use, on demand.
In another article, AMR Research looks at the what is sees as a golden future for IT: “Technology users are increasingly business usersWith commoditization and stability in technology markets, a whole new generation of technology users will emerge: business users. For the first time, technology has gotten easy enough to use that it can be deployed widely within organizations and across industries. What has been a long time coming can finally happen because of the convergence of the ease of global communication provided by the Internet, availability of easy-to-use handheld devices, emergence of wireless access, and full deployment of advanced applications that make business data accessible. This is causing a structural change within the user community that will make technology a part of the fabric of every line of business. It will also lead to the widespread use of this technology infrastructure within small to midsize businesses, which in the past could not afford either the technology or the complexity of using it effectively.”