More from @pmarca
A tweetstorm from
4 years ago — @pmarca
1/Late night tweetstorm addendum to earlier series on unbundling (
and rebundling (
2/Younger followers asked me to expand on DEC/Sun/Microsoft unbundling: older history, therefore useful to study as precedent for our time.
3/Once upon a time (1950s-1960s), businesses mostly bought computers from IBM, & IBM also bundled in all the software & services you'd need.
4/IBM bundled offerings were extremely expensive, while demand for computers spread to departments & smaller businesses who had less $.
5/So DEC unbundled the computer itself from the total bundle & sold it for less $ to customers who could then write their own software.
6/But a DEC computer itself was a bundle of proprietary components: VAX hardware, VMS operating system, RDB database, etc.
7/In the 80's, Sun came along & sold a similar power computer to DEC's for 1/4 the cost w/unbundled components: Unix OS + Motorola chips.
8/DEC responded by going upmarket & becoming more like IBM; Sun & other Unix workstation vendors chewed through their market + grew it more.
9/Critical point: At point when DEC started to tip over, its integrated offering was as close to perfect as our industry will ever see.
10/Ask people who were working then (like me) and they'll tell you to this day that they miss VAX/VMS & how productive they could be on it.
11/Meanwhile Microsoft & Intel came along and fully implemented the unbundled low-cost computer, first PCs and then Windows-based servers.
12/Sun responded to Microsoft/Intel by rebundling: Rebuilding itself in DEC's image with Sparc chip, Solaris OS -- proprietary HW+SW stack.
13/Again, Sun got close to perfection as an integrated system when unbundled Microsoft+Intel & Linux+Intel went broad & forced sale of co.
14/Picking up thread with Microsoft: Microsoft has spent last 15 years rebundling, rebuilding itself in DEC's image much like Sun. Now + HW!
15/Once again, bundled Microsoft stack very close to perfect just as it comes under attack from next unbundling wave: mobile + cloud.
16/Fascinating twist: Under new leadership, Microsoft 2014 now committed to unbundling -- full app + cloud support for iOS, Android, Linux!
17/Microsoft taking new unbundling strategy offensively vs new titans who are bundling as fast as possible! Apple, Google, Amazon, Oracle.
18/The point? I don't know much about what our industry will look like in 50 years, but I'm quite confident these same dynamics will apply.