Tech guru and columnist has written his final column this week’s Recode “Mossberg: The Disappearing Computer”
Like many fellow digerati, I was a big fan of Mossberg’s insightful, concise and prescient columns that touched on consumer technology and the business of technology. He spent a number of years writing his weekly column for the Wall Street Journal before he moved on to co-found the popular technology blog recode.net .
A few sound bites from his final column:
The tech oligopoly
Most of the work on this, especially what we and others can learn about and report about, is coming from the giant companies that make up today’s tech oligopoly — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
But, as tectonic shifts like this occur in technology, oligopolies get shaken up. For instance: today, Apple is the biggest of the group. By all reports, it’s working seriously on AR, self-driving cars and health initiatives. But its strict and admirable privacy policies make it harder for it to gather the vast amounts of data required for the best machine learning.
Mossberg: The Disappearing Computer
- The lull – As I write this, the personal tech world is bursting with possibility, but few new blockbuster, game-changing products are hitting the mainstream. So a strange kind of lull has set in. Consumer drones and robotics are in their infancy, a niche, with too few practical uses as yet.
- Wait for it – But just because you’re not seeing amazing new consumer tech products on Amazon, in the app stores, or at the Apple Store or Best Buy, that doesn’t mean the tech revolution is stuck or stopped. In fact, it’s just pausing to conquer some major new territory. And, if it succeeds, the results could be as big or bigger than the first consumer PCs were in the 1970s, or even the web in the 1990s and smartphones in the first decade of this century.
- Ambient Computing – I expect that one end result of all this work will be that the technology, the computer inside all these things, will fade into the background. In some cases, it may entirely disappear, waiting to be activated by a voice command, a person entering the room, a change in blood chemistry, a shift in temperature, a motion. Maybe even just a thought.
- The dark side – Some of you who’ve gotten this far are already recoiling at the idea of ambient computing. You’re focused on the prospects for invasion of privacy, for monetizing even more of your life, for government snooping and for even worse hacking than exists today. If the FBI can threaten a huge company like Apple over an iPhone passcode, what are your odds of protecting your future tech-dependent environment from government intrusion? If British hospitals have to shut down due to a ransomware attack, can online crooks lock you out of your house, office or car?
- The oligopoly – Most of the work on this, especially what we and others can learn about and report about, is coming from the giant companies that make up today’s tech oligopoly — Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Microsoft.
He signs off with “I won’t be reviewing all the new stuff anymore, but you can bet I’ll be closely watching this next turn of the wheel. Thanks for reading. Mossberg out.”
We will miss your columns, Mr. Mossberg !