Parallel Worlds (Imagine a world without Microsoft)

Everyone's familliar with the concept of a Parallel World, right? For every decision we make in this world, an infinite number of parallel worlds are spawned based on every possible outcome of that decision.

Generally when talking about parallel worlds people like to take our current world and say something like, "I wish I lived in a world without Microsoft" or "I wish I lived in a world where the Civil War never happened." But I like to take it one more step and try to figure out what historical events would have had to happen differently in order for that world to exist instead of our own.

Take the Microsoft example for a second. Its really hard to imagine a world properly without Microsoft. I mean they're everywhere. Plus I think when most people imagine a world without Microsoft they don't really know what they're supposed to be imagining.

Let's talk about that for a second. It will help us define the events that had to happen differently in order for there to be no Microsoft. A world without Microsoft wouldn't actually be as cool as everyone thinks.

For starters, the internet wouldn't be nearly as popular as it is today.

Second, no standardization of hardware. I think that the market would have eventually evolved toward some stardards but we wouldn't have really cheap hardware that you can plop into any machine except a Mac and expect it to work.

Third, the standards would evolve out of the need for interopability.

See it all goes back to the decision IBM made to go with MS-DOS instead of DEC-CP/M. The legend is the guys at Digital decided to go hang gliding (or something) instead of meet with IBM to talk about licensing CM/P so the Microsoft guys got the contract instead.

Imagine that. Imagine how things would be like of the original IBM-PC ran CP/M instead of MS-DOS. Microsoft would still be a smalltime Basic language vendor. There's a good chance that Apple would still be one of the major players. In fact I think all the little guys would still be around. Commodore. Atari.

Which brings us to the next question, would Jobs have been fired from Apple? Would the NeXT have gotten created? With no NeXT, what happens to the web?

Without the standardization that came from Microsoft, the net would be a collection of computers that only have a few common components. The network stack would be the common factor...

I'm just now realizing that we can't really predict what the computer-scape would look like until we figure out if Jobs would have created the NeXT. Since the web came from the shit in NeXT, and since the web has defined what the computer-scape looks like now, we need to find out if the web would exist in its current form or if it would have been created on some other platform and if so, how different would it look now?

The web is currently a weird mix of Windows and open stuff. They're intertwined.

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