It has now been 5 years since the NASDAQ crash, signalling the start of the dot-com downturn. Now, in hindsight, the past 5 years have seen hardship in many sectors of the economy, but it started in technology, and while most other sectors have recovered, technology is still in the doldrums today.
The reason for this is that technology and the rest of the economy had different reasons for their troubles. 9/11, the uncertainty of war, and widespread accounting scandels came long after the tech industries faltered. Technology sputtered because of a labour surplus, and unfullfilled promises of the “New Economy”.
Since 2000, the tech industry feels like it has stagnated, and almost stood still, compared to the ridiculous triple-digit growth of the late 90’s. But the past 5 years, while tough, have not been without it’s bright spots:
- Wireless networks everywhere – The proliferation of 802.11b and g has revolutionised the way we look at networks. No longer tied down by wires, the Internet is truly in the air we breathe.
- E-commerce gone mainstream – It’s hard to believe that even as late as 2000, buying online was for the daring and early-adopters. Today, christmas shopping online isn’t just for the uber-geeks, but their parents and grandparents as well.
- Mobile Madness – Shrinking efficiency has made devices smaller and allows their batteries to last longer. The Palm V (available in 2000) is big and clunky compared to the sleek PocketPC models which are common today. The typical Cell Phone has a powerful processor and can run programs and games.
- Digital Cameras – also the domain of the early-adopters 5 years ago, are everywhere. The film-less revolution has changed the way we take pictures.
- Power to the masses – The standard Moore’s Law baseline has always (at least since the 80’s) been the $2000 computer. Today, you can get a really good name-brand desktop for $500. And that comes with a super-fast 3.2Ghz, hyper-threaded processor. The processor speed increase may have leveled off a bit, but the price drops make up for it.
Just keep these things in mind as you look back at the tech crash. Tech is in a slow-down… not a stop.