Executives at big, high-tech companies like IBM derisively refer to PC manufacturing as a "screwdriver industry." This is because the parts are all standard, and vendors like Dell and Gateway 2000 just put them together with screwdrivers. Of course, these companies, and Dell in particular, have been extremely innovative in process management and in Internet marketing. Indeed, they have been so successful that founder and principal owner Michael Dell is a billionaire many times over. One expects that Dell has no problem in taking a joke.
Intel's new strategy, which hit full steam in 1995, panicked the Taiwanese. Microsoft, whose power tends to make it unpopular in business and official circles abroad, now had to take ...