‘The Sun Doesn’t Rise Because The Rooster Crows’, says Grove.
Back in 1997, Andy Grove was in London promoting the joys of networked computers.
To Grove it was obvious that then, as now, that the biggest bugbear to connecting computers is the connections – and that’s because the connections were then, and still are, controlled by the dinosaur network operators.
“The computer industry does its stuff delivering increased performance and reducing prices because it’s a competitive and open industry with hundreds of companies in it” added Grove “but the telecommunications industry has a government monopoly legacy which is not used to delivering its services in a competitive economy. We need improving bandwidth and declining prices and neither trend is being served sufficiently.”
Without higher bandwidth and lower phone bills the potential of networked computing for stimulating world trade is going to be hobbled, argued Grove.
“I’d love to believe ISDN can be deployed very rapidly but it’s moving at a speed that seems very slow to the computer industry” bemoaned Grove adding “the sooner we manage to move the telecommunications industry into a more competitive world the better off we’d be in all these things.”
I had the temerity to ask him if he was promoting networked computing just because it helped sell more microprocessors.
Grove replied: “I get paid to serve Intel’s interest but I don’t get paid enough to lie. It’s clearly in our enlightened business interest that consumers’ eyeballs move over to the PC from the TV but we actually believe this stuff. It may only be a skip and a jump from you saying ‘there’s Grove giving a marketing message’ but I believe the message to be true. We walk the walk as well as talk the talk.”
I asked him if his focus on network computing was the result of the much-hyped concept of the ‘Network Computer (NC)’ publicised by Larry Ellison of Oracle Grove denied that the network computer was driving a new way of using computers. Quite the reverse.
“The sun doesn’t rise because the rooster crows,” replied Grove pointing out that network computing was happening because a couple of hundred million people around the world now had computers technically capable of accessing the communications networks.
Now, in 2012, the number of devices connected to the Internet has passed five billion.
But the telecommunications industry has still not moved into a competitive world.
Plus ca change . . . .