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COMPUTER WARS by Charles H. Ferguson

COMPUTER WARS

How the West Can Win in a Post-IBM World

By Charles H. Ferguson (Author) , Charles R. Morris (Author)

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8129-2156-9
Publisher: Times/Henry Holt

 An informed assessment of what's in store for the computer industry now that IBM is no longer showing the way. Before looking into the future, Ferguson (a computer analyst/consultant) and Morris (Iron Destinies, Lost Opportunities, 1988, etc.) chronicle the sudden shift away from mainframes to decentralized systems (built around work stations whose circuitry is mainly comprised of lightning-fast microprocessors), which caught Big Blue (plus other stand-pat manufacturers like Digital Equipment) in the undertow. They also recount how IBM fumbled its chance to retain control in PCs, whose emergence helped make the business as much a software as a hardware game. Among other matters, they note that IBM's top executives remain sales-oriented and ill-prepared to choose wisely among cutting-edge technologies that can determine corporate competitiveness in a mercurial market where today's breakthrough is tomorrow's museum piece. Having set the stage, Ferguson and Morris address the issue of which suppliers might thrive in a field whose bellwethers have lost their way. Their money is on what they call a ``third force''--i.e., nimble, mid-sized enterprises (mainly based in California's Silicon Valley) with managements who understand the volatile state of the electronic data-processing art and who have the resources to capitalize on it. With minimally prudent assistance from Washington (which has not always been helpful), the authors predict, American vendors can gain a vanguard position during the 1990's. Despite massive government aid, they argue, vaunted Japanese sources (along with their high-profile US counterparts) remain committed to megaprojects that could confine them to commodity niches. And Europe, Ferguson and Morris conclude, has long since ceased to be a factor in the brave new computing world already taking shape. An upbeat, albeit cautionary, analysis. The accessible text has charts and graphs throughout (not seen).