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Futurist: What Drove the Rise of the Consumer Device Market?

What drives market change?

What drives market change?

What changed the technology market?

I know I'm a little different than a lot of people; I sometimes struggle with earbuds. For some reason, it just feels like they're going to fall out. So I tend to like the over-the-ear headphones, but that's also when I grew up with them, so that's a more natural fit for me. But I have to say I've been playing around with a couple of interesting products, and by extension their both earpieces, not headphones. Today isn't going to be a review of them or a discussion only of that topic. When I first started as an IT professional, governments of the world, particularly defense departments of the world, drove innovation from 1945 to around 1980 was driven more by government and defense departments when it came to innovation. After 1975 that began to shift. Now, why did it begin to shift?


The first shift is the personal computer. Few of the big players from the rise of the PC are still in the PC business. IBM has exited the building and selling of computers, and HP broke itself into two distinct companies, one that does services and one that still sells computers and hardware. Dell rose at the end of this; period, so it isn't part of the conversation now. So the initial rise of the personal computer began to change how people interacted with the world around them. But that initial rise was a lot of lonely off-line work. CompuServe and AOL were great online bulletin boards, and there were many, many more prodigy and others. The reality was an online bulletin board system meant that you tied up your home phone line connecting to them back then.


Once that personal computer was fairly dominant in the market, the next big explosion was the concept of broadband or high-speed home Internet. Now what we consider high-speed today and what was high speed 30 years ago are very different. Back then, you didn't have as many computers in a home or neighborhood connected. Now, your house may have five or six devices connected. That was the second big change, the introduction of higher-speed Internet. Authors note: that is also the point in history that creates the concept of the digital divide. The digital divide remains a problem to this day. But not the focus of the evolution of computing and the market around us.


In 2007, there was something that changed the last bit of how people interact with technology. That explosion is still happening to this day. The event in 2007 changed everything again. To roughly 1980, innovation, for the most part, was government-driven. Then the consumer market took over. No, it is not Steve Jobs standing on the stage with the iPhone the changed the world. Everybody always says that that changed the world, but it was another cell phone. The iPhone, like android phones, has its flaws. It's not about the flaws. Effectively the value proposition launched in 2007 was the iTunes Store. Up until 2007, an application normally cost 19,99 per application or more. After the iTunes store launched, and later Google Play launching changed that to 99 cents per application.

The road to change can be difficult

The road to change can be difficult

Suddenly the shift was from software being expensive, to software being free or nearly free.

Suddenly the iTunes Store appeared, and applications moved into three new distinct categories. Some applications were free. Some applications were freemium, in other words, free, but if you want to use some of the advanced features, you have to pay for them. And then, of course, applications you purchased. But now, the applications you paid for started at $0.99. A dollar may seem like a fortune to a three-year-old, but if it does something you need as an adult, a dollar is not that painful. The reality is that the shift generated by the iTunes Store is ultimately the final move to electronics driven by the consumer, not by governments in the military. Yes, governments and the military still innovate, but the majority of the technology that they innovate with now never makes it to the consumer market. There's only so much need for weapons that will kill 10,000 people at once for all intents and purposes. The military and governments now consume the devices built for consumers. Certainly, there are opportunities for more encryption and security on the devices, but they are predominantly consumer devices.


This market continues to evolve. But it is the consumer-driven man. In 1945 innovation spiked because of the many innovations created to win WWII. Radar was something invented during World War II. Interesting fact, radar has become a consumer product that most people have in their homes today. The radar systems ultimately were modified and made a little safer many people have one in their homes. It's called the microwave. But by as I pointed out, 2007 that marketed shifted to the consumer-driven world. Things appeared in the consumer world long before the military world, which is a good thing in the long run, but not because I'm anti-military. I understand the need for a strong defense. More than the consumer market is so much bigger. There is a lot more money in the consumer world than all the governments of the world combined. Innovations that benefit people are quickly adopted. But now, the rise of overestimation can be a little concerning. People overestimate the size of markets frequently. The reality is this market has evolved. From the PC to the home broadband we can see the evolution. The impact of the iTunes and Google Play store continues to drive innovation.


The answer to my original statement? It began to shift around 1980, and by 2008 the shift to consumer-driven was complete!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 DocAndersen

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