Monday, June 02, 2008

Part producers are dead, long live integrators!

Not so long ago, it was enough just have fastest part. Just add some more Ghz to processors, and Windows would act faster, and it was a clear win on the market. The same goes to RAM, hard disk, or anything. In such world, part producers were the kings.
But now, climate has changed. Adding some more Ghz just won't make your browsing or typing faster. It is the time for integrators to jump the wagon. The main goal of the integrators is to take components to produce unique experience, eventually adding some custom made components that are not available on the market and are essential part of particular experience.
So, we have several examples of people that took this seriously and made some real fame:
  • Apple - the only company that always tried to be integrator, and eventually found its moment. Ipod+Itunes? It is integration. Hadware+software=Mac. iPod+phone=+iPhone. And not to forget custom chips like ones being made by Intel
  • Nintendo - Wii has all generic components, but with nunchuck controller and added integration magic it rules the world
  • Asus - with eee PC making bringing all other manufacturares to shame. But unfortunalely without much custom parts, so it will be quickly copied by others.
But, in every race there are losers:
  • Microsoft - Vista was released for era of part producers. At a hurry Microsoft extended XP home life for low cost PCs. But it will make troubles for corporations - if you buy eee PC, with Win XP home, you can't use it in your corporate Network. And it is likely that many CIOs will be interested in eee Box - it consumes much less electricity, produces less heat, takes less space and doing the same thing. But can't work with Windows Server. It will be a big push for Linux.
  • Sony - Blue ray won the game, but the question is who will need such bulky storage? MacBook Air and Asus eee Box won't
  • AMD - the company that first touted that x86 instrucions should be used from top to the bottom of the market was overrun by Intel that got it how to pack x86 into small, low-power and low cost component

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