The $100 Computer

Wow, it is happening.

My current business involvement is at the level of group dynamics, which I fancy to be at a whole different level from things like software, even biotech. Those are down there!

A few years back I was trying to launch a series of companies, which was at the level of software. I must admit I have toyed with the idea of an Internet Computer. IC. Like the PC succeeded the mainframes, the ICs would succeed the PC.

But it is already happening. And I am happy for it. The Indian $100 computer.

This is a big deal. One difference is it is not totally tied with the internet. It still does a bunch of offline stuff. Which is good. For the Indian context.

My vision was more of like a computer that is always online, and there is nothing to be done offline. You have Linux that supports Firefox, and that is all there is to it. And then you scale back to the hardware level and get rid of all the extra bells and whistles.

I am surprised Larry Ellison is not jumping on the idea bandwagon. The guy was trying to push something called a Network Computer back in 1995. It did not take off, but I think his vision, slightly modified, has oomph.

If you have ICs, all the data crunching happens on servers. And that is the only way Oracle could fathom taking over Microsoft.

But the thing about the computer industry is, it is a great marketplace. It is truly hard to predict winners. The situation stays fluid and rightly so.

I mean, if you are a dot com company, your competition is only a quick click or a quick Google search away. You sink and swim fast. But then you can also come back fast when you sink. If you keep working, and keep offering the very best you might have to offer.

I don't think the IC vision is going to be anything dramatic. The PC itself will likely morph beyond recognition.

There was Steve Jobs with his bells and whistles recently. He was boasting you can get weather reports on your PC with Apple's new operating system, and I am thinking, why would I want to do that? I already have been doing that online. Well, maybe not me, because I am not much of a weather person, but I mean, that option has been online for ages now. That is when I realized the PC is not going too far from here.

The online world is the new western frontier, and worldwide too.

No, it is not outsourcing. That term is so racist. People who realize Indians are no longer just subsistence farmers, they get thrown off balance. What is happening is new jobs are being created in India. Trade is a good thing. Just because that trade happens online and is worldwide does not make it suddenly bad.

Go India!

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