How IT has changed & the comeback of some old brands

Ian West, VP Analytics & Information Management at Cognizant, published below picture on LinkedIn about how things have changed over the last 50 years in IT and got more than a thousand like in the last 10 days. In this blog some comments on this.


As lecturer information management, I’m always interested in pictures like this which could help explaining IT, there is so much going on in IT that an overview like this could help. The newest generation students has grown up in this century and are very good at working with smartphones and tablets but understanding the difference between data and information is already a big challenge for them… What would I tell them when showing this picture?

I would tell them I agree with the phases when looking back although I miss one big development which had a big influence on IT: the  availability of large data centers which made both the cloud, social media, big data and the IoT possible. And these big databases have become the backbone for the internet where only a view companies have the technical and financial capabilities to build and maintain these. On this market, only around 7 big service providers are active and the prediction is that in three years 3 or 4 will be the key players worldwide: seize and innovative capability cost money and starting a new datacenter company wil become almost impossible. Datacenters have their own datacenter management software and developing this costs a lot of the money and building a datacenter is very expensive: impossible for a startup to do this on their own. You can see the same development with social media and market platforms where in a view years only a view will remain, a big reconciliation is this market is expected the next three years.

This trend is also visible in the new Internet of Things phase where we suddenly see old names like Texas Instruments, Cisco and Honeywell come up as IoT leaders, all old tech companies: 50 years ago I had already a calculator from Texas Instruments. In all past phases in the picture new companies come up which become IT leaders, with the Internet of Things phase this is changing. Probably these old companies are good in mass production of the necessary devices and machines which make the IoT work, although the production itself is probably outsourced to low wage countries (note: in the coming Trump area, this could change…).

What the picture also shows is that all leaders mentioned in this picture are US companies  except for SAP. Is there really nothing innovative happening in the rest of the world? What for instance about Alibaba which is bigger than Ebay? It will not take long and all these highly educated IT guys form China and India will come up with companies who also become world players, certainly when the US becomes more protective and only wants their own people to profit from new technology developments…

About Gerard Geerlings

Gerard Geerlings, socioloog en schrijver, schrijft online over wat er zoal aan de hand is op het terrein van de digitale samenleving, de troost van kunst, praktische levenskunst en de actuele politiek.
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