Another Look at Bill Gates View of the Computer Industry

Is the computer industry really as competitive as Bill Gates' claimed in his testimony?

In court testimony on Monday, Microsofts Bill Gates asserted that the computer industry in 1983 was dominated by vertically integrated providers, but that the industry now is far more competitive across every layer of the IT stack. He illustrated the latter point with this chart.

To put it politely, this is a carefully drawn picture. Note that Microsofts logo appears four times, but is spread across three different columns. IBMs and Suns logos are likewise not aligned. IBM is unaccountably omitted from the category of consulting; Apple is omitted from operating systems and peripherals; Microsoft itself is omitted from peripherals and consulting. Sun is omitted from computers, which appears merely spiteful, as well as from consulting. Presenting HP and Compaq as separate companies seems, shall we say, retrospective.

Aligning the logos, and at the same time correcting these and other omissions or distortions, eWEEK Labs offers this alternate view:

The result is not definitive -- perhaps IBM and Sun belong in even more rows, and there are surely more companies that we could have included. Even so, this is a rather different picture, and one that does not support Microsofts case so well.