Saturday, August 11, 2007

Top 10 influential tech products of last 25 years

It's becoming a season to talk about top things, ain't it? About a fortnight back, Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), announced its Top 10 list of the most influential technology products of the past 25 years.

According to CompTIA, a total of 471 individuals participated in the CompTIA survey, which was conducted in May and June. Products developed by Microsoft claimed four of the top five spots in the poll of information technology (IT) industry professionals, conducted in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of CompTIA. Apple's iPod is the only non-Microsoft product to break into the top 5.

As per CompTIA, the top 10 most influential technology (or computing) products of the past 25 years are:

1. Internet Explorer (selected by 66 percent those surveyed)
2. MS Word (selected by 56 percent of survey respondents)
3. Windows 95 (selected by 50 percent of survey respondents)
4. Apple's iPod and MS Excel (tied at 49 percent each)
6. Blackberry (selected by 39 percent of survey respondents)
7. Adobe Photoshop (selected by 35 percent of survey respondents)
8. McAfee VirusScan (selected by 32 percent of survey respondents)
9. Netscape Navigator and Palm's PalmPilot (tied at 31 percent each)

While there will be differences of opinion about this list, and also the fact that components of MS Office have been broken up into separate components, it's quite evident yet again that Microsoft rules the computing world, and will continue to do so for a long time. Well done to the great team at Microsoft!

Now, I have my own comments regarding these selections. First, I have always believed Mac OS to be better than Windows. So, I'd put Mac OS in place of Windows 95.

I won't have MS Office there, or any components of MS Office, as I felt back in early 2000 that StarOffice and now, Open Office are equally good.

I'd replace IE with Opera, which is a lighter and much better browser, even back when it was first launched.

Yes, Apple's iPod has revolutionized digital music, but don't forget Real Player! The first time we all probably started watching videos and listen to music over the Web was by using the Real Player! For most, it was the first experience of streaming video and audio!

I agree Palm's done very well and changed the way people looked at mobile computing. However, it was the short-lived Apple's Newton, which first promised all of this. By the way, I must have the iMac on my list too.

My list would have another Adobe product, the Pagemaker, which revolutionized desktop publishing. Don't know whether people remember Quark Express! I am tempted to add Unix, or well, Linux, as it really brought open source into the great, wide open!

Lot of people are enamored by the Blackberry today. However, it was way back in 2000 when I was using my Siemens GSM phone in Hong Kong and elsewhere to send and receive emails, and also use it to search for hotels and other establishments over GPRS. In fact, at a conference in Singapore in 2002, during a survey done among the participants, I was among the three people using the GSM phone to send and receive emails! So, shouldn't mobile phones be the first on everyone's list?

Finally, I'll definitely add Tally to my list. Tally, as all Indians know, is the most widely used accounting software, starting way back in 1986. The mumbers achieved by this single accounting software is simply mind-boggling!

Therefore, friends, my list of the top 10 technology (or computing) products of the last 25 years would be:

1. Mobile phones (GSM phones, especially) -- all down the years
2. Tied between Apple's Mac OS and the iMac
3. Linux
4. McAfee's VirusScan
5. Real Player
6. Tied between Quark Express and Adobe Pagemaker
7. Netscape Navigator
8. Tally
9. Tied between StarOffice and Open Office
10. Tied between Opera browser and Apple's Newton

I am sure that most people will not agree with my selection/choices or even find my list appealing. That's fine! It's my own individual selection and I'm not canvassing for anyone in particular! These are purely my observations over the last two decades.

I am delighted at having had the privilege, like most of you, perhaps, to have had the honor of using all of these great technologies and products. Hats off to all the technologists of the world!

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