Libraries, dedicated devices, and information sharing – Part I

| January 20, 2011

Now that the iPad has come out, will eBook readers die?  What is the future of Blu-Ray players as TVs converge with the Internet? A common theme in all these questions is – do dedicated devices eventually die because devices converge?  Do devices converge as technology advances?  The PC is the ultimate convergent device, and many a dedicated device (word processors, fax machines, NCs – Network Computers, etc.) have been sucked inexorably into the pull of the “do it all” PC device.  Even at the software level, Microsoft Office is a convergent suite that sucked up dedicated functionality from WordPerfect, Dbase and Lotus into one package. Yet, dedicated gaming consoles have been able to resist the forces of convergence. And the TV-VCR combo didn’t catch on either. What gives?  Cornell business professor Mohan shares his take:

1. The more mature the underlying technologies, the more convergence is favored.

2. The wider the disparity among the converging functionality, the less likelihood that convergence wins.

3. The greater the value of “converged scenarios”, the more the likelihood that convergence wins.

4. The more the cost of a dedicated device, the more the likelihood that convergence wins.

5. The stronger the externality of dedicated devices, the lesser the likelihood that convergence wins.