Dragging itself out of three years that were simply awful, the information technology industry is debating whether it has become, in fact, mature -- that dreaded word. Nicholas G. Carr poked a stick in the eye of techies everywhere in his controversial Harvard Business Review piece in May, "IT Doesn't Matter." We beg to differ. Our summer double issue, "The Future of Technology," checks the vital signs. Instead of a mature industry, we see advanced youth. In other words, plenty of room to grow.
In the same way we anticipated the tech-led recession ("The next downturn," Cover Story, Oct. 9, 2000), this year we heralded emerging bright spots, such as the Wi-Fi explosion and an e-business revolution that continues to deliver on the promise of the Internet, despite the bubble. How about eBay (EBAY ) Inc., which did nothing less than invent a whole new business world, with few restraints on its ability to grow? Or take heart from Intel (INTC ) Corp. Chairman Andrew S. Grove, a 40-year tech veteran, who says: "The rate of change in technology is as much today as any time in my experience."
Sum it all up, and we see a gratifying tech revival -- not a boom, mind you, but good, solid growth. And we present a road map that suggests some directions. We don't say it will be easy: Spam, piracy, privacy, and security problems, if unresolved, could endanger the recovery's momentum.
This year's double issue is the combined effort of our technology, economics, and finance teams, all led by Assistant Managing Editor Kathy Rebello, who divides her time between Silicon Valley and New York. Special credit goes to Silicon Valley Bureau Chief Robert D. Hof, Senior Writer Stephen Baker in New York, and art directors Steve Taylor and Ron Plyman.
There's plenty to ponder.
By Stephen B. Shepard, Editor-in-Chief