FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Microsoft In, IBM Out

The two hottest news stories in the tech world this past week have been the entry of Microsoft into the blogosphere and the possibility that IBM might sell its PC division. Because of the influcence of both these players, these actions will have important implications for the tech industry in the coming months.

Spaces.msn.com is still in beta mode, and those who have tried it have offered so-so reviews and the predictable criticism that the format is too Microsoft-centric. Others have noted that Microsoft claims at least some ownership to content, that the system attempts to censor naughty words, and that blog pages load slowly over dialup connections. However, it does offer RSS feeds, and while the layout might not be as flexible as what you'd find on other blog sites, it appears easy enough to use to appeal to those who might have been put off by blogs in the past. So while it might not be of great interest to serious bloggers, MSN Spaces may appeal to those who simply want to post the occasional picture online.

IBM's possible divestiture of its PC division is perhaps a more significant development. If this pans it, it will truly be the end of an era. After all, it was IBM who really brought the PC into the public consciousness. However, with companies like Dell and HP tightening their command of the PC market, IBM likely sees PCs the way GE sees lightbulbs -- a steady but not a spectacular moneymaker. Word is that a Chinese company, Lenovo, was considering buying out IBM's PC business, and that IBM prefers to focus on "thin client" network systems that are easier for businesses to manage and secure.