What did Watson mean?

A while ago I posted the founder of IBM, Thomas Watsons comment, I think there's a world market for about five computers. I got thinking about that as I was sending an email using my Google account and concluded whether he was right depends on how what a computer is.

In our world almost every sophisticated device and some pretty dumb ones have a computer in it. There are billions of them embedded in just about anything you can think of and I assume there will be computers embedded in stuff we cant even imagine now, perhaps us. So Watson was wrong. But, if you could look at the relative scale and expense of Watsons computer and the problems Watson imagined the computers of his future could solve someday, maybe he was right. Could it be eventually there will only be one computer in the cloud and all the billions of processors floating around are just components of it?

Posted by , Senior Vice President on 11 November 2009
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