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IBM Chief: Dial-Up Will Soon Die

Friday, April 7, 2000

By Charles Bermant
Internet VC Watch Correspondent – [Los Angeles]

The idea of a “next generation Internet” received a formal definition Wednesday afternoon, when IBM Corp. Vice President of Internet Technology John Patrick listed the necessaries for the new system and co-opted it as part of an IBM acronym.

In his keynote at Spring Internet World 2000, Patrick listed seven characteristics needed in this next step. It will be fast, always on, in every location, natural, intelligent, easy and trusted. This combination of characteristics are now included under the NGi designation.

“It will really change things when the Internet is always on,” he said. “Pretty soon, the dial up process will be as old as ‘ring me up an operator.’ When the Internet is on all the time it can provide the delivery of other things besides Web pages, like real time accounts of weather. You can also control functions in your house from remote devices.”

Patrick said that Linux will be an important platform for Internet development, calling it a “game changer” and a “disruptive technology–” explaining this is meant “in the most positive sense.”

Patrick said that the progression toward a more natural Internet comes from instant messaging. “There is more than meets the eye here.” he said. “Sometimes it seems like a ‘teenage thing,’ where kids are just using instant messaging to trade notes with the people that they just saw on the bus. But there is the possibility for a real collaboration of ideas, especially when you combine instant messaging with translation software.”

This process, which Patrick demonstrated, has the potential of allowing people to ask questions across the Internet and get an instant answer in their own language; from someone who speaks another tongue.

“Linux levels the playing field, and eliminates a lot of porting,” he said. “Sun says ‘why do we need this? We have Solaris and it is better.’ Microsoft says ‘why do we need this? We have Windows 2000 and it is better.’ IBM says ‘I think we need Linux.’ Only the greatest sinners know how to really repent.”

Companies also need to change the way they do business, to decide “whether they are going to continue to do business as usual and accommodate the Internet, or embrace the Internet and accommodate the way they do business.”

While IBM has defined the idea of the next generation Internet with its won acronym, it doesn’t own or control the idea. Patrick said these changes can only happen through technology partnerships, which continue to evolve. Accordingly, there is no ETA for the emergence of the new generation.

“There is no arrival date,” he said. “But every day we get a step closer.”