the desktop is here to stay


Most users have no desire to be the system administrators of their machines, and would gladly turn that task over to someone else for a nominal fee. As bandwidth increases, telcos, cable companies, and others will be in the perfect position to become application service providers for the average home user, and said average home user will gladly accept this, as long as the price isn’t too high. I see this as almost inevitable.

In a world of unlimited bandwidth and remote applications, the operating system doesn’t matter, and there’s no lock-in. In such a world, Microsoft loses its monopoly, and the consumer wins. This is why bandwidth should scare Microsoft more than any other foe out there right now — for once bandwidth increases beyond a certain level, remote application provision is inevitable, and then Microsoft is on very shaky ground, indeed.

It’s not for everyone, but for the 80% of users who do little more than surf, check their e-mail, and check the odd stock quote, the ASP model makes a great deal of sense, and it’s time is coming.

Maybe with introduction of the walmart $300 PCs, you can get a cheap web browser. But I think the buyer psychology is if they are spending even a couple hundred dollars on a box that takes up space on the desktop, it has to do more than just show web pages and send and receive email. It has to play video games or do word processing and printing for the kids’ homework. Pretty soon you’ll need an operating system and locally running applications. As for the ASP model, imagine the backlash if users realize that their computer loses all its state and applications if they were to switch between SBC and Comcast. Likely use of ASP apps would be bundled with access fees so SBC and Comcast would have their own (separate) app servers.

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