The PC-centric world of computing evolved in an age when networks did
not exist and users were technologically sophisticated enough to
comprehend the complex system. In a world where networks are
ubiquitous and fast, where the average user cannot manage the
increasingly complex software, where spam and viruses
abound—centralized network computing model wins but has been ignored
by most IT gurus.
Network computing did not take hold in the developed countries because
networks arrived after the PC was fairly common. But for the next
billion users in the vast emerging markets of the developing
economies, sophisticated telecommunications networks (fiber optic and
wireless, for voice and data) precede the adoption of computing
devices. These users need computing services, not computers. They need
the affordability and manageability they associate with cellphones.
Computing as a service delivered over the net is the answer. It will
be built around thin clients (including cell phones), remote desktops,
open-source software stack on centralized servers, and pay as you use
It took the PC-centric computing model 20 years to have a 700-million
user base. In less than five years, the network-centric computing
model could get the next billion users—if the industry wakes up.