2013年8月27日 星期二

讀 The Decline of E-Empires By PAUL KRUGMAN

 讀 The Decline of E-Empires By PAUL KRUGMAN

要如何讀 The Decline of E-Empires By PAUL KRUGMAN 這篇呢?
它是否只是在講一套恒真的說法呢   即"天下無不散的筵席"
世界的競爭動力學過於複雜  很少有人能說得清楚
譬如說 為什麼有的產業第一名和第二名差距大     而有的小?
本文中Apple 公司的產品之顧客心目中品質與其定價的關係.....
 類似的議題.  我可以列出數十條......

Op-Ed ColumnistThe Decline of E-EmpiresBy PAUL KRUGMAN August 27, 2013專欄作者科技帝國的興衰保羅·克魯格曼 2013年08月27日
Steve Ballmer's surprise announcement that he will be resigning as Microsoft's CEO has set off a huge flood of commentary. Being neither a tech geek nor a management guru, I can't add much on those fronts. I do, however, think I know a bit about economics, and I also read a lot of history. So the Ballmer announcement has me thinking about network externalities and Ibn Khaldun. And thinking about these things, I'd argue, can help ensure that we draw the right lessons from this particular corporate upheaval.
史蒂夫·鮑爾默(Steve Ballmer)出人意料地宣布將卸下微軟(Microsoft)首席執行官一職,引來眾說紛紜。我既不是一名科技極客,也非管理大師,因此無法在這些方面說什麼,但我想我在經濟學方面還是略知一二,也閱讀過大量歷史資料。鮑爾默的聲明讓我想起了兩件事,網絡外部性和伊本·赫勒敦(Ibn Khaldun)。我認為,從這些事出發能讓我們從此次微軟的巨變中汲取正確的經驗。
First, about network externalities: Consider the state of the computer industry circa 2000, when Microsoft's share price hit its peak and the company seemed utterly dominant. Remember the T-shirts depicting Bill Gates as a Borg (part of the hive mind from “Star Trek”), with the legend, “Resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated”? Remember when Microsoft was at the center of concerns about antitrust enforcement?
首先是關於網絡外部性:回想一下2000年前後電腦行業的狀況,當時微軟股價觸及巔峰水平,公司看起來似乎不可一世。記得嗎?那些T卹將比爾·蓋茨(Bill Gates)畫成《星際迷航》(Star Trek)中奉行集體意識的博格人(Borg),還印著這樣一行字——“抵抗是無用功,準備好被同化”。還記得嗎?當時微軟還處在反壟斷案件的中心。
The odd thing was that nobody seemed to like Microsoft's products. By all accounts, Apple computers were better than PCs using Windows as their operating system. Yet the vast majority of desktop and laptop computers ran Windows. Why?
The answer, basically, is that everyone used Windows because everyone used Windows. If you had a Windows PC and wanted help, you could ask the guy in the next cubicle, or the tech people downstairs, and have a very good chance of getting the answer you needed. Software was designed to run on PCs; peripheral devices were designed to work with PCs.
That's network externalities in action, and it made Microsoft a monopolist.
The story of how that state of affairs arose is tangled, but I don't think it's too unfair to say that Apple mistakenly believed that ordinary buyers would value its superior quality as much as its own people did. So it charged premium prices, and by the time it realized how many people were choosing cheaper machines that weren't insanely great but did the job, Microsoft's dominance was locked in.
Now, any such discussion brings out the Apple faithful, who insist that anything Windows can do Apple can do better and that only idiots buy PCs. They may be right. But it doesn't matter, because there are many such idiots, myself included . And Windows still dominates the personal computer market.
現在,任何這類討論都會激起忠誠的蘋果粉絲的反駁,他們堅持認為只要是Windows能做的事,蘋果都能做得更好,而且只有傻子才會買PC。他們可能沒錯。但這沒什麼,因為世界上有很多這樣的傻子,我就是其中一個。 Windows也仍然主宰著個人電腦的市場。
The trouble for Microsoft came with the rise of new devices whose importance it famously failed to grasp. “There's no chance,” declared Mr. Ballmer in 2007, “that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share.”
How could Microsoft have been so blind? Here's where Ibn Khaldun comes in. He was a 14th-century Islamic philosopher who basically invented what we would now call the social sciences. And one insight he had, based on the history of his native North Afr​​ica , was that there was a rhythm to the rise and fall of dynasties.
Desert tribesmen, he argued, always have more courage and social cohesion than settled, civilized folk, so every once in a while they will sweep in and conquer lands whose rulers have become corrupt and complacent. They create a new dynasty — and, over time , become corrupt and complacent themselves, ready to be overrun by a new set of barbarians.
I don't think it's much of a stretch to apply this story to Microsoft, a company that did so well with its operating-system monopoly that it lost focus, while Apple — still wandering in the wilderness after all those years — was alert to new opportunities. And so the barbarians swept in from the desert.
Sometimes, by the way, barbarians are invited in by a domestic faction seeking a shake-up. This may be what's happening at Yahoo: Marissa Mayer doesn't look much like a fierce Bedouin chieftain, but she's arguably filling the same functional role.
順便說一下,野蠻部落有時候是由政權內部企圖重組的人請進來的。這也許就是發生在雅虎(Yahoo)的情況:瑪麗莎·梅耶爾(Marissa Mayer)看上去並不像一個凶悍的貝都因部落酋長,但她無疑擔當了同樣的角色。
Anyway, the funny thing is that Apple's position in mobile devices now bears a strong resemblance to Microsoft's former position in operating systems. True, Apple produces high-quality products. But they are, by most accounts, little if any better than those of rivals , while selling at premium prices.
So why do people buy them? Network externalities: lots of other people use iWhatevers, there are more apps for iOS than for other systems, so Apple becomes the safe and easy choice. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.
Is there a policy moral here? Let me make at least a negative case: Even though Microsoft did not, in fact, end up taking over the world, those antitrust concerns weren't misplaced. Microsoft was a monopolist, it did extract a lot of monopoly rents, and it did inhibit innovation. Creative destruction means that monopolies aren't forever, but it doesn't mean that they're harmless while they last. This was true for Microsoft yesterday; it may be true for Apple, or Google, or someone not yet on our radar, tomorrow.