Tech's Fifth Wave

Rob Hof

Michael Copeland and Om Malik have an interesting article on what they call the fifth wave of computing in the new issue of Business 2.0. It's a very different but related take on last week's cover story in BusinessWeek, The Power of Us. They contend, quite rightly, that cheap computers, open standards, and pervasive broadband are creating a new
wave of innovation that takes computing well beyond the first four waves: mainframes, minicomputers, personal computers, and the client-server model that led to the Web.

I mention the fine work of an ostensible competitor not because of Om's kind words recently about our story, but because anyone who's interested in the phenomena we wrote about--blogs, wikis, eBay's people-driven marketplace, Amazon's customer reviews, Google's canny search engine--will be interested in one of the clearest explanations yet of what's behind them all.

One of the more intriguing points: the way pervasive broadband is turning the Web into a sort of do-it-yourself software and services platform. When just about anyone can start a business on so little capital, thanks to the platform already in place, it's no wonder we're seeing so many startups blossoming, and so many established businesses scrambling to keep pace.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.