Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The best corporate slogan ever?

Has to be "The network is the computer" for Sun Micro.

I first read this in PCQuest or one of the other computer magazines in India around '96. I didn't get it at that time. Growing up in a world of GWBasic and MS-DOS 6.0, I always used to wonder what was special about the hardware that SUN provided. Why do they have to charge Rs. 10 lakhs (1 million) for a server (in those days)? What did these servers do anyway that a PC could not do? What is different about a SUN workstation?

But oh man... this slogan encapsulates EVERYTHING about the information age. Everything about the internet. It is heartbreaking to see a company that can see the future, but cannot do anything to make money off it.


Masood Faruqui said...

Actually this was supposed to signal the end of the PC. They thought dumb terminals connected to the network would replace the PC. Couldn't be more wrong. Turns out people loved control and their hard disks. Larry Ellison had this vision as well.

Arun said...

Masood, I remember Ellison talking about the barebones "Network PC" in 97-98 which would get data from Oracle databases. That was always a goner.

But when you look at SUN, basically they were saying that the usefulness of the PC was when it was connected to a network, and not standalone. And that is the reality now. Would you rather have a net connection or MS Office on your PC?

Masood Faruqui said...

If I had to create a large and complex document, I would rather have MS Office.

Writley/GoogleDocs is good but could Sun have created it (and back then without AJAX - on a JavaStation)

Do you think Sun's original slogan "the dot in .com" could look good in retrospect too?

Arun said...

Actually the "dot in dot com" was pure hubris.

You are right that for large and complex docs, MS Office is preferred. However, most people do not create large and complex docs. In the tech industry we are skewed a bit as we deal in a lot of docs. But quite a bit of businesses can get by with simple document creation (online word processing), and complex document viewing software (pdf?).

Regarding the tech at that time, I dont think SUN could have come up with something similar at that time. But the point here is not that the network computer will suprass the PC. But that the PC is useless without the network