Thursday, June 28, 2012

Minitel and Compuserve

The Times has a story on the impending demise in France of Minitel. Minitel was once the very popular French version of the Internet, or rather an intranet since it was all proprietary hardware and software.  The French were way ahead of the rest of the world with computerization in the home.  The U.S. had some experiments, which failed, one of which was by Time-Warner, but the French developed such a widespread platform even Norwegian bachelor farmers in Brittainy adopted it, using it to maintain the registrations of their cows, etc. 

But since it was proprietary and not open, it's lost out in the competition with the Internet and PC's, lost out at least in the marketplace if not in the hearts of some of those aforesaid farmers.

Compare France with the U.S.  Compuserve was an early networking outfit, but because we already had PC's penetrating the market it was software only; the hardware was PC's.  Compuserve was eventually ousted and then bought by AOL, which reached for the stars in merging with Time-Warner, only to fail in competition with the open interface of Internet browsers.  Sic transit gloria mundi.

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