This book--Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital by Carlota Perez--will change your view of the high tech world. I would put it on a par with Alfred Chandler's The Visible Hand and Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions--high praise indeed.
The author reviews previous high tech revolutions (Industrial Revolution, Age of Steam and Railways, Age of Steel, and the Age of Mass Production) and maps them to the current revolution: the Age of Information and Telecommunications. She comes to two major conclusions.
First, all such revolutions demand financial capital and often new ways of procuring it (in the high tech revolution the new means was venture capital). People and institutions get tired of low returns from current technology and start looking for new ways to get a higher return. These groups, by funding emerging technologies, make the early stages of a technological revolution possible.
Second, these revolutions play out in 60-year intervals. The first half of the interval is Installation; the second half is Deployment. Installation contains two phases: Irruption and Frenzy, punctuated at the end with some kind of turning point--the Panic of 1847, the stock market crash of 1929, the dot.com implosion in 2000. At this point, Deployment takes over, again in two stages: Synergy and Maturity. Towards the end, returns start to dwindle, and financial institutions once again start looking for the next technological green field.
According to Perez, we are now in the Synergy stage. Some hallmarks of the era are "making the products truly user friendly and mutually supported" and "speed, reliability, quality and cost reductions receive special attention." Sound familiar? Read the book and get a glimpse of what's coming.