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Deconstructing the Computer: Report of a Symposium
Both Mr. Malachowsky and Dr. Keys answered in the affirmative.
“Has that had any impact on the ways you’re driving your product forward: the aspects of resolution or what kinds of shapes you paint on the screen?” Dr. Flamm asked.
Again answering in the affirmative, Dr. Keys said that upon entering the display market only five years before, DuPont had laid out its own road map. But that road map, which included what he called “a substantial period of monochrome display supply,” had been abandoned. In just the previous two years, there had been revolutions in the industry, in the move to full-color displays in hand-held devices, and in the advent of HDTV and the infrastructure to support it. “That drives all of us, as consumers, to want that latest thing,” Dr. Keys observed, “so patience with monochrome just doesn’t exist.” Even for day-to-day, utility functions, technology had moved toward the high end. DuPont was now testing technologies on such lower-end applications as cell phones and games before implementing them in higher-end computing products. “But,” he noted, “everyone wants the same capability.”
The economies of scale of the consumer world “have removed the economic motivation from the very high end” and caused “the real high-end players to focus on narrow niches now,” added Mr. Malachowsky.18 The overall advancement of technology, in which the entire industry moved forward to satisfy needs arising in a variety of applications—some of them very high end—had given way to concentration on small market segments. High-end developers had moved into simulation and modeling. NVIDIA had entered the workstation market two years before and, at the medium and low end, had established dominant market share—producing around 20 million processors per quarter—and had put in a minimum feature set in order to be in a position to supply extremely fast machines for very focused, high-end manufacturing customers.
Dr. Flamm observed that the technology going into the high end and that being developed for the consumer market were the same, to which Mr. Malachowsky assented.
The term, economy of scale, describes situations where the average cost of producing an item falls as the number produced increased. In other words, the more of an item a company makes, the less each item costs to make on average.