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The biology of technology

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1 Author(s)
S. Greenstein ; Illinois Univ., Champaign, IL, USA

Why do commentators talk about the PC market as if it were a biological process? Industry watchers often talk about the “birth” of industries or the “death” of obsolete technology. Conservative investors discuss the stable stocks of “mature” industries (as if mercurial earning reports are found only at “adolescent” firms). Similarly, the “product life cycle” metaphor has become shorthand for regular and repeated patterns that accompany turnover of products. Biological metaphors, much like any metaphor, are incomplete and inexact, but suggestive. For example, the life cycle in computing has many different and overlapping meanings. There are at least three in common use today. Technology enthusiasts use the metaphor one way, buyers another, and sellers yet another. Differences in meanings say much about the person using the metaphor. Some people have warm feelings for the computing cycle, but others do not

Published in:

IEEE Micro  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 4 )