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Introduction William H. Leary HI* There are few, if any, precedents for the microcomputer explo- sion. It has surprised most of us and is now recognized as a major force of change in small and large organizations alike. Microcom- puters are spreading rapicIly into every walk of life. Unfortu- nately, such growth makes it difficult to identify clear trencis and other unclerlying forces. The authors of the next three chapters are uniquely qualified to assess the status of and trends in micro- computer technology. Thomas WilImott of International Data Corporation begins with a broad review that gathers the threads of hardware, soft- ware, and communications into a fabric that explains the direc- tion of the microcomputer/personal computer industry. He repre- sents that special group of industry observers who can help us understand what is happening. The other authors, Mitchell Kapor and Robert Metcalfe, are leaders among the small number of visionary geniuses in the mi- crocomputer industry. Kapor, whose software products inclucle the enormously successful 1-2-3 as well as Visitrenct and Visiplot, shares his observations on where microcomputer software is heading and looks at the apparent conflict between the successful *William H. Leary III is deputy director, Information Resources Management Sys- tems, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense. ~7
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18 MANAGING MICROCOMPUTERS software entrepreneur and the organizational needs of the soft- ware companies as they grow larger. Robert Metcalfe of 3Com Corporation is the well-known inven- tor of the Ethernet local area network technology and a major figure in microcomputer communications. He reviews the status ant! future of the increasingly important networking potential of microcomputers. Together, these three chapters offer an important perspective on the problems and potential of microcomputer technology.