Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Feb 2014 12:31 UTC

John Gruber, on Google's Project Tango:

Google is starting to remind me of Apple in the '90s: announcing more cool R&D prototypes than they release actual cool products. Even the R&D team names are similar - Google's is called "Advanced Technology and Projects"; Apple's was called "Advanced Technology Group".

Funny. Google's 'moonshots' actually remind me more of another R&D-focused company. Interestingly enough, without that company, the computer industry would have been set back decades, and Apple would most likely have been reduced to a footnote in computer history.

I would rather large companies spend their cash on potentially awesome research that may (or may not) advance computer technology and the human race, than have them stash it away in shady overseas bank accounts.

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Set Back Decades
by Brendan on Wed 26th Feb 2014 13:37 UTC
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I'm honestly not convinced that, without the R&D done by Xerox/PARC, the computer industry would have been set back decades.

For example, I'd assume that once hardware capable of handling decent graphics (rather than just monochrome text) became available, someone somewhere would've "joined the dots" within 12 months. It might not have been identical (e.g. it could've been keypad or joystick or touchpad instead of mouse), but it would've still happened and followed a similar evolutionary path, and would've resulted in something extremely similar to what we have now in the same amount of time.

In the same way, I'd expect the same for other technologies (e.g. OOP, ethernet, etc).

Mostly it's like trying to pretend that if Christopher Columbus didn't "discover" America, nobody else would've realised there's a huge chunk of sparsely populated land sitting there waiting to be taken from the natives.

- Brendan

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