|The other critical element
that assisted in the development of e-business
platforms was the Personal Computer. As the PC entered the
it immediately made a difference. Suddenly. the power of
size minicomputers had scaled to a new level. Early 1985
saw the first
serious PC products to market and their adoption rate was
In the United States.
this was exaggerated by early adopters, many
of whom purchased computers as local purchasing decisions.
merits could make decisions about computers without them
bogged down in months of bureaucratic effort involving the
department. Apple in particular, developers of the
a marketing program akin to a religious frenzy. (Their
is also based on a marketing strategy where their
differently" from the masses.)
The PC started a revolution in the
development (and the cost of)
software products. No longer was software development
confined to the mid-range and high-end systems. The PC
new entry point for developers of software, and the
leaders in the
businesses understood this trend. Bill Gates left Harvard
early to take advantage of the market opportunity, Steve
another leading application, desktop publishing for the
Adobe and many software vendors headed for the start-up
an expanding marketplace.
As all this was going on the market
became very polarized for
computer products. Mid- and high-range vendors tried to
ignore the PC
and allowed new vendors to build their businesses at an
IBM and Intel left an open door for the PC's architecture
tried later to close it with OS/2 and their Microchannel
and the market continued to grow. New companies such as
Compaq, and Gateway forged ahead in the marketplace,
from this open architecture. All of this provided the
framework for the
huge market demand.
Organizations now had a collection of
productive islands of computing, but needed to leverage
them. The answer was to connect their
machines to form a communications network inside the
Bantam and Novell built entire companies around the
PCs and other machines. The world of workgroup computing
and the Local Area Networking was born. In retrospect,
these became the foundation of collaborative computing.
Simple applications such as file sharing and printing
provided the foundation of most of those early systems.
However, with the entry level for software firms now lower
than ever before, the opportunity to develop and
distribute systems at a lower cost created hundreds of
start-ups to write software for the PC.
The reason that this information is
important to the evolution of the Internet is simple. The
Internet is a network of computers, and it works in the
same way as a Local Area Network, with a few differences.
It has an industry standard protocol for communication
between systems, and a common language to converse and
present data between different systems.