Until 2007 many people thought that was the same for house prices. Unfortunately a lot of bankers were in that group of many people. That mistake was made in the Eighties and Seventies as well.
Or look at it another way. Anybody remember the incredibly powerful partnership in the Nineties between IBM and Microsoft? They were working together on the replacement to Windows 3.1 and all seemed peachy, especially as Big Blue was THE software company, a planetary leader. Then there was an acrimonious split between them, IBM worked on their OS, codenamed Warp, and MS released Windows 95. Now both of these organisation are still around - IBM is a shadow of what it was then, and although Microsoft is still huge I'm not sure it will be in five years time.
Why five years? Well, in the next year or so Google will sort its Android OS out - codenamed Jam Sarnie probably - and tablet computing will become mainstream. If PC users aren't heartily fed up with constant bug fixes and ten minute boots then they'll certainly be hacked off by Microsoft's arrogant attempts to control the way they use their computers. I've just had to uninstall Windows Live Messenger, which presumably MS decided I wanted as it suddenly started adding another two minutes to my laptop boot sequence every day offering a service I can't see a need for. As there wasn't an option to ask it to stop loading automatically every time I booted, I deleted it.
I guess I'm not the only person getting cheesed off by MS - looking at the blog stats I see that at best Internet Explorer is used to access the blog as much as Google Chrome is at 33% each, and at some times Chrome is used 45% versus IE's 28%. Between the migration to tablet computing and Chrome's growth, IE is likely to become irrelevant. OK, Microsoft still hold a lot of sway in business computing, but I doubt that position is unassailable.
So, twelve years into the new millennium, we have the new big players on the block, the Googles, the Facebooks, the Twitters. And they are looking as unassailable as IBM and Microsoft did less than twenty years ago. And their growth is as assured as house prices were until the credit crunch. Or the previous house price crashes.
I'm not saying Facebook and Twitter will disappear any more than IBM and Microsoft have disappeared. If they're smart, and I have no reason to think they are anything but, they'll constantly reinvent themselves, evolve into new versions of themselves. But the public will tire of them as an entity, will get fed up of letting their data be traded, will want some new way of hooking up with people, perhaps in a way that's less exploitative. So, if you've been working on a new social media paradigm in your bedroom but have felt that you're wasting your time due to the Facebook steamroller, don't give up. But just remember that it may be Social Networking that the world falls out of love with!
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