12 December 2007

How the Future Web Played Midwife to the IBM PC


In 1978, I.B.M. was beginning to design its PC, which was a radical break for a company that had until then resisted open architectures and industry standards. Mr. Lowe invited Mr. Nelson to the company’s offices in Atlanta for a 90-minute presentation.

The resulting slide show, in which Mr. Nelson sketched out a world in which computer users would be able to retrieve information wherever they were, came as a shock to the blue-suited I.B.M. executives, Mr. Lowe said. It gave a hint of the world that the PC would bring, and even though the I.B.M.-ers were getting ready to transform a hobbyist business into one of the world’s major industries, they had no clue of the broader social implications.

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