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Gordon Bell’s Law of computer classes: Why we have so many kinds of computers

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Published on Oct 21, 2014

The goal of this presentation is to present a view or theory of why and how a dozen different kinds of computers i.e. computer classes have formed industries 1951 through 2015
A new class establishes a well-defined computing platform (environment) based on novel processor & memory technology i.e. chips, storage, sensors, user interface, and network.
A class has a well defined environment for writing and hosting application programs.
A secondary industry forms around a class that creates application programs for end use.
A new class enables new applications, new use, and new users.
A class establishes a new industry.
A new class is marked by one or two entrants or first movers followed by a plethora of followers. Depending on the class e.g. minis or a component e.g. disk memories 10,…100s of companies follow. Over time, a class or industry segment evolved to a few suppliers.
The general nature of computers allows one kind of computer to substitute for another. Thus, applications on one class may migrate to another, making a class un-economical

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