Thursday, April 03, 2003

The two key driving technologies of the tech boom

The first cellular phone call was made 30 years ago today. (Link via slashdot). The first PC was the Altair, first produced in 1975. Interestingly enough, the two technologies had very different groups of early adopters, but companies supporting both technologies grew at double digit rates for the next 25 years. Both technologies hit the mainstream in the 1980s, and approached ubitquity in the 1990s. Companies supporting both technologies were valued at high multiples throughout the 1980s due to being growth industries. However, when the markets for the technologies started to show maturity, the multiples went up and everything went slowly insane. Suddenly though, investors were faced with the realisation that the industries producing both were not only going to not grow faster than before, but were in fact mature. Both products had suddenly become commoditised, barriers to entry were very low, and prices were dropping dramatically. And here we are.

The fact that both industries, athough driven by different companies in at least initially unconnected markets, went thrrough life cycles that almost exactly paralleled one another in terms of time, is interesting, if nothing else.

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