Friday, September 23, 2005

AT&T Bell labs: The legacy of Unix to today's struggle

It is a well known fact that Unix was an offspring from AT&T Bell labs, the then research giant that gave some of the most important inventions to the world ( think transistors that runs virtually every computer on the planet). I did not know until today that they invented the laser too (optical systems could be a part of tomorrow's computer: we do not know about the future though). But what were the issues that led to the fall of monolithic yesteryear research giants like AT&T and the XEROX Palo Alto research centers.
Is it because the researchers at those labs were crazy enough to work on their interests rather than the future of the company?
Is it a byproduct of the greatly decreased time to market for a research product (it used to be a time gap of 8 years between when a product was in research and was released commercially)?
Is it that mankind is being aggressive enough to virtually see a new product every three/six months(think cell phones; you have a new architecture/model every 6 months or even under that i guess)?

There might be more questions to ask and a greater number of answers to the above questions but it looks like "change" is the only eternal thing in the world. I believe that people normally change for the good more often than not and am hoping that technology too is changing for the good!

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