The $99 PC and cloud computing (1997)

In 1997 Po Bronson wrote The First $20 Million Is Always the Hardest. The novel was the story of some Silicon Valley types who set out to design a PC that would sell for $99. Here’s a bit of the plot from Wikipedia:

“The team finds many non-essential parts but cannot come close to the $99 mark. It is Salman’s idea to put all the software on the internet, eliminating the need for a hard drive, RAM, a CD-ROM drive, a floppy drive, and anything that holds information. The computer has been reduced to a microprocessor, a monitor, a mouse, a keyboard, and the internet, but it is still too expensive. Having seen the rest of his team watching a hologram of an attractive lady the day before, in a dream Andy is inspired to eliminate the monitor in favor of the cheaper holographic projector. The last few hundred dollars comes off when Darrell suggests using virtual reality gloves in place of a mouse and keyboard. Tiny then writes a “hypnotizer” code to link the gloves, the projector, and the internet, and they’re done.”

Does that “put all the software on the internet” part sound familiar. I mean, shoot, that was 13 years ago. Shows how long folks about been thinking about “cloud computing.”

I liked Mr. Bronson’s early work. The Nudist on the Late Shfit and What Should I Do With My Life (non-fiction) in particular.

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