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