Today's Wall Street Journal contains Andrew Grove's view of the auto industry transformation, I concur with his viewpoint.
It made me think about what is transpiring in computer software and hardware. Movement to 'cloud computing', where the internet acts as the network to allow firms to operate with their key software 'offsite' will continue.
This kind of software, led into reality by salesforce.com, but also available from Intuit in the form of Quickbooks, Netsuite and others eliminates software maintenance headaches, hardware purchses and IT infrastructure management expenses from customers. As more and more businesses find this effective, more applications, such as email and ultimately, desktop applications like excel and powerpoint will move to the web, along with their associated storage.
This is leading hardware into simplification. I am typing this on a netbook, which has no fan, no spinning hard drive, or any other part with a high failure rate. It thus has a long expected mean time between failures and a low heat footprint, low energy consumption and a long battery life. Other hardware will follow suit and more of the infrastructue will move into shared service centers.
This will spell radical change for the businesses that depend on the 'software' business model, either retail or enterprise such as Microsoft, Oracle and SAP. Their success, driven in much the same way that Grove talks about the success of auto industry managers, driven by folks who grew up in those businesses and have not experienced any other way.
It will be interesting to see the new world order that develops out of this change. More interesting to me than who wins in the automotive wars.