Get With The Future

Recent articles about an internet-based operating system have generated heat.

Eric mentioned on Tuesday some challenges to the concept, which I addressed. His three points were that security concerns would keep people from trusting an internet-based OS, spotty broadband connectivity would make it hard to use in some places, and nothing in life is free.

This morning, I pass along to you a rebuttal to Eric’s points, submitted by Ben:

Eric represents the average 40-55-year-old adult who still doesn’t realize how powerful technology has become. My dad is that age, and he just doesn’t understand the capabilities of the Internet.

To Eric’s points.

We already send our information to other companies. Jason bills his [Kelly Letter] subscribers through PayPal. That company has Jason’s credit card numbers as long as everyone remains a subscriber (Eric included) and Jason obviously trust PayPal. Online banks have all of their customers’ social security numbers. These are companies too, and if Google or Yahoo would violate this security, they would be bankrupt in days. They don’t want to go bankrupt, so I would have no problem trusting Google with my information. Why would Google look at its users’ documents [stored on its servers] when they are meaningless to them and would cause them to go into bankruptcy?

Not more than a decade ago broadband was unheard of, and if you were lucky enough to have this “fast internet” you were blessed. Now, computers aren’t even made with dial-up ports, and new computers such as the MacBook Air operate only on wireless technology. Let me repeat that: the newest computer on the market is able to connect to the internet only through wireless technology. I have no doubt that in less than a decade the entire world will be wireless, it just depends on which company’s satellite in space you want to pay for to have the internet sent to your machine.

Eric states that “nothing is free in this world.” That is simply not true anymore. Of course, before the internet, things were materials. They took up physical space, and it cost something to manufacture them. But now, with the internet and with people who have way too much time on their hands, getting great things for free is possible.

Consider this real life example that happened to me. My computer was acting up a couple of months ago. I could have taken it to the store, waited a week, heard their excuse about why it wasn’t fixed yet, driven to pick it up and paid them a ridiculous amount of money. Instead, I simply went to a computer message board, posted my problem, and 6 minutes later I received an answer from a computer engineer in Iowa. For free. In 6 minutes. A half hour later my problem was solved.

This is the power open-source software has. You or I might not have free time to help people out for free, but there are people all over the world who enjoy their field enough to help others out on message boards.

I can see Google creating an OS and then letting it be edited just like Wikipedia and running off of donations. Or just like Facebook is letting regular people develop applications. Wikipedia is quickly becoming the single best place to get information anywhere in the world. And guess what? It is free. Go to their website and look at how many people donate to the site. And if Google created an OS, people would donate, too.

Eric complains about possible ads on his background. How many ads do you see on Wikipedia?

If you still think that nothing is free, you are living in the past. Get with the times, or you will miss out on incredible opportunities in the technology market.

Then again, without people like Eric, Google would be around $1,800 instead of this dirt cheap $502 nonsense.

Thanks, Eric.

Note that The Kelly Letter is currently looking to buy shares of Google on the cheap in anticipation of its eventually offering a free, downloadable, internet-based operating system that usurps Windows.

So, while dirt cheap yesterday’s GOOG close of $502 may be, we would welcome an even dirtier cheaper price of, say, $400. Do what you can to help. Sell your GOOG shares in a panic during one of these downturns.

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