Every revolution results in winners and losers — after the dust settles. During the revolution, chaos occurs as people attempt to discern if this is the real thing or just a minor rebellion. All parties put forward their positions, attempting to convince onlookers that theirs is the path forward. Meanwhile, established practices and institutions are disrupted and even overturned — perhaps temporarily or maybe permanently. Eventually, the results shake out and it becomes clear which viewpoint prevails and becomes the new established practice — and in its turn becomes the incumbent, ripe for disruption.
This is true in technology as in every other domain. In the tech business, we often get caught up in focusing on vendor winners and losers. Point to the client/server revolution, and it’s obvious — Microsoft and Intel. Over on the loser side stand the minicomputer vendors. This winner/loser phenomenon can be seen in every significant technology shift (and indeed, one shift’s winner can become a future loser). This is understandable: we all love conflict and the vendor wars make for great press.
Less awareness is present for the effects of these revolutions on what makes up the vast majority of the technology industry — users. One could hazard a guess that for every dollar of revenue that Microsoft products pull in, IT organizations spend 10 or 20 additional dollars (or perhaps even more) in building and running systems. By far the biggest impact of any technology revolution is that upon technology users (by which I mean those who work with the technology, i.e., IT organizations).
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