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Internet Collapses and Other InfoWorld Punditry Paperback – May 26, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0764535031 ISBN-10: 076453503X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: IDG Books (May 26, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 076453503X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764535031
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,202,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

So deeply cynical you know he must be right, Bob Metcalfe has made a second career out of showing us the inner workings of the computer industry. With material culled from the best of nearly a decade's worth of columns, Internet Collapses and Other InfoWorld Punditry is guaranteed to both aggravate the reader and illuminate the issues, often at the same time. Perhaps better known as the inventor of Ethernet and founder of 3Com, Metcalfe is pretty much free from the need to self-censor and can write whatever InfoWorld will tolerate. His opinions generally leave no individual, business, or government agency unscathed--Metcalfe was Microsoft-bashing long before it was cool, although the U.S. Department of Justice, open-source advocates, and "paranoid anti-technology outlaw cyberpunks dressed in black" must also endure his scorn.

Even more appealing than Metcalfe's invective are his sometimes-outrageous predictions. After reading his 1994 offhand comment that antitrust enforcers would be wishing for timelier action against Microsoft five years later, the reader may be tempted to hustle down to the library to check the original. At other points in the book, such as when he foretold the "Internet's catastrophic collapse in 1996," readers can only marvel at the odd combination of hubris and humility that drove him to reprint the very wrong alongside the very right. This same combination allowed him to humble himself by publishing brief rebuttals by such industry heavies as Nathan Myhrvold and Vint Cerf--excellent foils whose styles complement Metcalfe's own. Whether you're an old-school InfoWorld reader or you've never had the pleasure of Metcalfe's virtual company, Internet Collapses will give you a brutally clear perspective on the birth of the Internet economy. --Rob Lightner


"His best and most controversial columns...proposing reasonable remedies long before the mainstream catches wind of the issues" -- Technology Review magazine, November 2000

Bob Metcalfe is a unique American inventor and entrepreneur who also turns out to be a supreme wit and gifted author. -- George Gilder

You may not like the way he phrases it, but he's actually got some very important things to say and he isn't afraid to say them. -- Vint Cerf

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Steve on August 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
In the spirit of full disclosure, let me start by acknowledging that I'm a huge fan of Bob Metcalfe. As you must know by now, Metcalfe invented Ethernet, founded 3Com, and served on MIT's board of trustees! How can you not be impressed?
Internet Collapses addresses sixteen topics concerning the high-tech industry, ranging from Microsoft's predatory business practices (Chapter 2) to the futures of wireless computing (Chapter 4) and the open source movement (Chapter 15). In each chapter, Metcalfe bundles a collection of his relevant InfoWorld articles with an uncensored rebuttal by an industry luminary. These industry heavies include executives from Microsoft, Allied Research, ICANN, a Nobel laureate and NEA venture partner, and a Harvard Business School professor.
Here's the scoop:
The format of Metcalfe's book grants the reader an understanding of the history (as least from 1992 to 1999) and the debate surrounding each topic. Unfortunately, this format also causes the book to feel like a Bob Metcalfe "greatest hits" anthology. And just like "greatest hits" record albums, unless you are a real fan, (I suspect) you will find reading over a hundred previously published articles a bit of a bore.
Put another way, I enjoyed it but I wouldn't be surprised if many did not.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Internet Collapses" reminds me of those books where the story unfolds by reading the protagonist's letters. Metcalfe's columns are a facinating immersion in ancient history (1992) and highlight the energy and struggle to grow and manage a now multibillion dollar phenomenon.
My only complaint is that Metcalfe's book sorely needs a glossary. The pages are awash with an alphabet soup of acronyms--LANS, WANS, LECS, DSL, ISDN, ADSL... Not all of the terms are defined, and some of the definitions come in later columns. Did the publisher think that only internet designers fluent in the jargon would be interested in this book. If so, would not someone on the cutting edge consider a book passe. For the rest of us in the following herd, it's an interesting read; just have patience or a technical dictionary handy.
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10 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Just Wondering on June 11, 2000
Format: Paperback
I was kind enough to include an entire chapter on Bob in my book, and there's nary a mention of me in his new one, but I won't hold that against him. Indeed, it might be another sign of his wisdom.Actually, for a fellow who had a pretty good track record in the high-tech and entrepreneuring fields, Bob has shown remarkable smarts in finally seeing the light and becoming a punditory journalist. This book of his is a wonderful compendium of what makes him always worth reading and usually worth a chortle. "Real" journalists could learn some things about skepticism and integrity from Bob Metcalfe.
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