Today, Tom's Hardware Guide turns ten years old. Over the years, the site has gone from being a simple hobbyist site for hardware enthusiasts to a media business that reaches out across the globe, appearing in 11 languages, on three continents, and reaching an audience of over 10 million unique visitors a month. It's no small achievement, but the tech world today bears little resemblance to that of a decade ago.
Today, increasing consolidation - the kind that results in an AMD gobbling up an ATI, or an HP buying a Compaq - means that we are unlikely to see the same dynamics in the industry that we have come to expect. Not only is there a lessening of competitive influences and drama, but also, a diminished emphasis on the PC platform as a market driver. PCs continue to dominate the tech world, and sell in large numbers, but they are utilitarian, and ultimately, commodities admired less for their abilities than their price and packaging.
Our readers are not the same people they were a decade ago, as well. They are much better informed, much more aware, and better equipped to handle technology. Technology has matured and it does not carry the same mystique of old. The Web has expanded the knowledge base that is readily accessible by all to the point that no one publication or person can claim authority over any topic. We are all aggregators of data and information. Armed with that knowledge, we are all opinion makers. The Blogosphere has shown how effectively this kind of community intelligence can work.
Entering its second decade, Tom's Hardware Guide needs to recognize that the voice of authority is not just one commentator or author, but communities of dedicated, engaged individuals who have immeasurable access to resources that can help them make informed decisions. We hope that entering our second decade we can do more to engage our audience, and to bring its collective intelligence to bear on our work. Because, it is, ultimately, the audience that can determine where the tech universe needs to go, and what it should do when it gets there. So, what is the future of hardware? What will propel debate, and stir enthusiasm in the coming years? It should be fun to find out over the next ten years.
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