Value Shift: When Silicon Is Almost Free

In iPhone Mesh, I referenced an article that quotes Steve Jobs saying

“If you look at the iPhone, it’s software wrapped in wonderful hardware,”

So it would appear that real value is in the software because as Alan Kay said a quarter century ago, while at Apple – “hardware is just software crystallized”.

Forbes columnist Elizabeth Corcoran tying together Kay’s early work and the current trends in chip production, puts this into a market context:

Are you old enough to remember the heyday of Xerox PARC, when it was an incubator for astonishing ideas? The guiding design philosophy of those days, as I recall, was simple: Do away with a constraint. Pretend that a key–but expensive–component has become free. Pretend bandwidth is free. Pretend silicon is free.

Silicon chips are almost free. The limitation now is software. Jobs, Hawkins and for that matter, companies like Intel, must all be scrambling to figure out how to inspire software designers to write applications that will make their devices sing.

Prepare to see scores and scores of devices. That much is clear. The billion dollar question in the balance is one of evolution: Which one–or ones–will dominate?

Darwin In Your Palm –

In Viral vs Exponential Growth and the Meshverse Paradigm I made a similar case that this same evolution she speaks of is happening very quickly and will have a very large impact. I explore how this shift came to pass in The Roots of Hardware. Speaking of shifts and roots, the subtle shift you may have noticed here at the MJ, are going to get more pronounced in the coming weeks as the next generation of software and networks I’ve been evolving begin to surface.

See also:


The Meshverse and Cisco’s Human Network

Apple Appliances: Computer Included

Believe The Hype


1 Comment »

  1. Jazz Semiconductor…

    Following up on the last entry on IBM’s Jazz software, I came across Jazz Technologies, a company founded by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and two other former Apple execs. Last fall they acquired a company called Jazz Semiconductor whose missi…

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