CEOs want "clutter" cleared

Grumbling about the ever-increasing complexity of PC technology surfaced in the presentations of several CEOs at the Gartner Group Symposium.

ORLANDO, Florida--Grumbling about the ever-increasing complexity of PC technology surfaced in the presentations of several CEOs at the Gartner Group Symposium here, as the computer industry worried out loud about the challenge of making technology more digestible.

"PCs are too complicated...We are giving people a great deal of complexity," said Ted Waitt, chairman and CEO of Gateway 2000, in a keynote panelist session.

Gary J. Fernandes, vice chairman of the systems integrator giant EDS, referred to the problem as "technology clutter."

"We need to get the tyranny of choice under control. We need to bring order to this chaos," added Fernandes, referring to the excessive array of technology choices now facing end users.

Specifically, both Apple Computer's Gilbert Amelio and Waitt also questioned the continued feasibility of the "monolithic" software upgrades that the industry habitually endures every year or so. As an example, Waitt pointed to the Windows 95 upgrade, which he said may have created more problems than it solved, particuarly in the area of user support.

Instead, Amelio and Waitt suggested software vendors should start using modular approaches to upgrades that allow users to improve only what they need. Implying that many felt that they did not benefit significantly from the upgrade, Waitt believes that users want more stability from their upgrades instead of a massive new list of features.

"We went through that whole Windows 95 upgrade thing last year. At the end of the day many users asked, 'What did we get?'"

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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