“In the article, Schmidt, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science, predicted that Wintel — the duopoly of Microsoft Windows and Intel’s microprocessors — would be “hollowed out” by the Internet. That is, plentiful broadband connectivity would mean that you wouldn’t really need a client-heavy operating system and the heavy-duty chips to run it. You could get by with a thin client. That client would connect to servers in an Internet-connected data center, where the heavy computing would take place.”
I seemed to spend half the late-1990’s writing about network computers, McNealy, Schmidt and Ellison. They never got the fundamental point: people want to do more than a dumb terminal can do. A powerful computer will always be able to do more fun things than a thin client, and powerful computers keep getting cheaper to the point where they are as cheap as thin clients.
Netbooks are a case in point. This year’s netbook isn’t particularly powerful. Next years will be as powerful as last year’s consumer PC. The following year, they will be as powerful as my MacBook Pro.
Moores’ Law makes “thin clients” into thick ones.