PBS | I, Cringely . May 4, 2006 – Killer Apps

PBS | I, Cringely . May 4, 2006 – Killer Apps

"Google, Intel, Microsoft, and Yahoo" are his four companies to define the future of the computer. Unfortunately, he forgot the big one, although most people do. There is a software company out there that supplies code for practically every single mission-critical application on earth. Go to any continent, and find a huge business whose function requires high availability data storage and access, and you will find this software. In your average day, you deal with this software for the most important things you do … banking, groceries, work, even your entertainment at night likely relies on this software in some way or another.

I'm talking about Oracle. The Oracle database system almost literally runs our planet in the background today. Whether you are talking about banks, about car makers, about military installations, about hospitals, about media giants … they run an Oracle database to store and access their most vital business data.

The four companies he listed are the visible side of computers, but that's just the tip of a very large iceberg. Under the water, where we can't see, is the backbone of our computing systems, and that tends to almost exclusively be Oracle and UNIX. You can't really call UNIX a company, so I can see why its not on the list (though someone like Redhat is worth a look, IMO) … but Oracle IS the database industry, when you talk about mission-critical data storage. And databases run our world today, in almost every capacity you can think of. Oracle would have topped my list of influential computer companies for the next decade. And they've always had the same business model … do one thing, do it relentlessly, and do it way better than anyone else. They have for 2 decades already, and I see no reason to think they'll stop being dominant anytime in the future.

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