W. Aspray and P. Ceruzzi, editors, The Commercialized Internet and Its Impact (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 2007)
This paper recounts the business history of software and computing.
Different models of computer business now compete with one another.
- Computing services can be provided to users through central computers connected to many remote users (like Google Docs). Variations of this business model include “software-as-a-service.” Computing power resides on the central computer.
- Computing services can be provided by many personal computers, each dedicated to a local user (like Microsoft Word). Most computing power is dispersed to many end users.
- Over time, where computer power resides tends to shift.
- Early central computing services arose in the 1950s, and re-emerged from the 1960s to the 1970s.
- The availability of cheaper personal computers in the 1980s dispersed computing power to users.
- Central computing has been reborn with the Internet. Networking costs have fallen to let it compete with PCs.