For years the computer industry followed Moore’s Law, derived from an observation made in 1965 by Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, that the cost of a given amount of computing power falls by half roughly every 18 months, meaning that the amount of computing power available at a particular price doubles over the same period. This article finds that partly because of the current recession and partly because the industry is maturing, with current hardware and software adequate for most common business tasks, customers are looking for the flip side of Moore’s law – instead of ever-increasing performance at a particular price, they want a particular level of performance at an ever-decreasing price.

The most visible manifestation of this phenomenon is the rise of the netbook, a small low-cost laptop capable of Web browsing, e-mailing or pounding out a text report, but capable of little else. Relatively inexpensive at $250 each, netbook sales rose from 182,000 units in 2007 to 11 million in 2008 and will reach 21 million this year according to IDC market research. The article notes that this “good enough” approach for pc technology is expected to continue growing in both the hardware and software areas.


Source: The Economist (London); Jan 17, 2009

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