An interesting commentary by David Wessel in the WSJ in an article entitled Technology Users Cash In, While Its Makers Founder:
One notion is surely dead now: that the people and places who produce information technology will get ever richer, while the rest of us languish on hold waiting for “technical support.” Auto dealers are making money; companies that make fiber optics aren’t. Shares of ace computer-user Wal-Mart Stores Inc. are down about 6% so far this year; shares of Internet-gear supplier Cisco Systems Inc. are down about 30%.
The biggest benefits from information technology, it is increasingly apparent, often go to those who use it cleverly rather than to those who make it. The computer hardware and software businesses are sexy, but some parts of it are very competitive. That is squeezing profits for producers and cutting prices for consumers.
Look at the personal computer that $1,500 buys today.
Therein lies a lesson for countries and communities who lust after sparkling high-tech factories. The surest path to prosperity isn’t exporting computer chips or software.
It is deploying them.
That is exactly how users and enterprises in the emerging markets should look at technology. Rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, look at leveraging what’s there. Using technology smartly across the spectrum offers the greatest opportunity to raise income levels and the standard of living for the world’s developing countries.