I was born in 1959, which puts me at the tail end of a trend called the Baby Boom. I’m a Baby Boomer. I remember long hair, Jimi Hendrix, LSD, bell bottoms, and Kent State as a rebellious youth. Maturity and greed replaced our wayward spirit; and with it came junk bonds, the personal computer, compact discs, IRA’s and the internet. We, Baby Boomers, have impacted, changed, and molded American society like no other generation before or after. Until now.
There is a new generation of young people that are going to rock the staid and complacent computer industry. For lack of a better name, let’s call them Google Boomers, or G-Boomers for short. G-Boomers learned to use a mouse before they could write with a pencil. They setup their first G-Mail account before the age of 10.
At times, it seems like Google’s long term prospects are hinged on this new generation of internet savvy kids and teens. Since the beginning of the year, Google has introduced an online word processor, spreadsheet, and calendar. All of them are free which is important since most 12 year olds don’t have a lot of money. By any objective comparison, these products are simply inadequate to take on Thunderbird, Excel, and Word. I’m certainly not dropping Microsoft Office for these free feature replete products. But they should work great for a 12 year old opening an attachment in G-Mail.
Google is leading an internet centric world. There are numerous advantages to Google’s new world.
- Better Software Management. Since the software resides on a centralized server, each time you run the software, you get the latest version. In Google’s case, it is a simple matter to add the missing features to their spreadsheet and word processor. And you know they will.
- Data Reliability. You’ll never lose your spreadsheets, letters, and emails due to a hard drive crash ever again. Here’s a news flash. All hard drives eventually crash. Yours is no exception.
- Data Sharing. Have you ever sent out a spreadsheet as an email attachment multiple times just because you made a few changes? Never again.
- Universal Access. You don’t need to be at your PC to look at your stuff. You can be anywhere.
G-Boomers don’t spend a lot of money, yet. However, in the next 10 years, G-Boomers will graduate from college and get their first jobs, and then the G-Revolution will begin. This will be the first generation of totally internet-smart shoppers. They will search and research their purchases like never before. They will be the most informed buyers ever. And the internet search business will explode and of course, Google will be in the middle of the explosion.
The story doesn’t end with Google. G-Boomers will be storing their spreadsheets, photos, documents online on centralized servers. The data will be accessable from any PC with an internet connection. It does not matter if the PC is a Mac, Gateway, Dell, or a no name Red Hat Linux box. Google is creating a whole generation of PC agnostics. First and foremost they will be operating system agnostic. It will not matter whether they are running Linux, Windows or OS 20. This will be great news because we will finally have true competition between the operating systems companies, which will dramatically drop the cost of computing.
G-Boomers will also have figured out the PC industry’s best kept secret. AMD is just as reliable and fast as Intel processors. As G-Boomers become IT managers in major corporations, AMD will finally make some headway into the large and profitable corporate market. When Intel can no longer take the corporate market for granted, we will see true price competition for processors. Frankly, I can’t wait to see processor prices tumbling down.
G-Boomers will see less and less value in hard drives, since all of their key information will be stored somewhere in cyberspace. Large and big honking processors will become increasingly important in the burgeoning server market, but the PCs of G-Boomers will be small, inexpensive, reliable, and quiet. Their portables will get incredible battery life. This ain’t your grandfather’s PC!
Have you ever heard of SaaS (software as a service)? You will. G-Boomers will change the entire software industry. They will no longer pay for software per se, but they will pay for what they want to accomplish. There is a whole nacent industry of software companies waiting for the G-Boomers to grow up. At PC Pitstop, we just said goodbye to Quickbooks, and hello to NetSuite for our financial management. NetSuite is an SaaS company.
G-Boomers all have an ipod, and in many cases, more than one. When a G-Boomer buys a CD, the first thing they do is rip it, then listen to it. Buy – Rip – Listen. They love iTunes and allofmp3.com because they feel like they are wasting time ripping CD’s. G-Boomers love Apple and think that the music labels are stuck in the 20th century.
Last week, I was sitting in a product meeting with a computer company whose name coincidentally begins with the letter G. When asked how he felt the PC industry would evolve in the next 10 years, this senior product manager responded, “We see little to no change in the next 10 years.” Clearly, he needs to sit down and chat with a G-Boomer.
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