Monday, February 12, 2007

Will Borg or Evil Empire Rule the Universe?

[Darth Jobs]Today I saw an odd posting by blogger Charles Coxe, which compares Apple to the evil empire. He points to the impact of the iPhone, its sale of 90 million iPods and 2 billion iTunes downloads, Steve Jobs’ attack on the record companies’ DRM tactics, the pressure on Microsoft because Vista doesn’t work with iTunes, and the Beatles settlement.

I agree these are interesting stories (after all, I blogged 80% of them), but does that really make Apple a dominant force in the industry?

[Borg Gates]A decade ago, my college computer store was selling bootleg T-shirts that compared Bill Gates to the Borg (the Star Trek villains invented in 1989). The Borg slogans “you will be assimilated” and “resistance is futile” seemed particularly apt given Microsoft’s (then) ever-increasing influence on the entire IT industry.

Perhaps it is plausible that Gates’ influence has been reduced. But the more relevant question is: who is more likely to achieve total world domination, Gates or Jobs? If I looked at a straight linear trend line, I’d have to say Eric Schmidt has the best hand.

Interestingly, if you believe Wikipedia, Jobs, Schmidt and Gates were all born in 1955. So at 51 (Jobs turns 52 on Feb. 24), they all have an edge on Azim Premji, who might otherwise be a contender if he weren’t so close to retirement.

PS: Apologies to regular readers (all five of you) for not posting for 130 hours. While I’ve been meeting my teaching commitments, deadlines on a research paper (finally) took priority over blogging.

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