Yale’s Everyman, sort of

I thought it was worthy of comment when IBM gave up on its personal computer business this past week, but didn’t have a clue what to make of it. Professor David Gelernter thinks about computers from a sophisticated user’s and problem solver’s perspective. In fact, he’s a brilliant software designer and renaissance man. On the other hand, Professor Gelernter also seems to be writing from the perspective of Everyman when he says that “the modern PC is in fact a primitive, infuriating nuisance.” He had many related thoughts of interest in a column that ran in the Wall Street Journal earlier this week and that OpinionJournal has posted this morning: “How to build a better PC.”
UPDATE: This post has prompted several thoughtful email messages, including this one from Robert Dammers:

Prof. Gelertner’s piece is very interesting — however, most of the suggestions he makes are software and network facilities (which IBM is retaining). His point about larger screens seems odd — larger screens *are* a growing sector of the industry, but these (and the graphics cards that support them) are all supplied by companies other than IBM (like LG or Samsung and Nvidia). The value IBM adds is all in the commodity sector. They retain their server business, which can be extended if they see an opportunity to innovate in personal hardware that is not being seized by others. In the mean time, there is clearly an opportunity in network services and operating system enhancements — but they will have to compete in an environment where such services are priced extremely aggressively (like my 2Gb mailbox with 100Mb web space which costs

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