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On the other hand, the record player he first heard David Cassidy on will still work in the next house he buys. That's because, once we settle on foundational stuff like electricity delivery, we don't break it every time we have good ideas about it. It's the same with everything, like math or computer hardware: after a period of diverse experiments, the foundations solidify and we build immense structures on top of them. It's a net win, overall, even if we get stuck in local maximums for too long sometimes.

In view of that, it's only natural that big segments of software beyond the OS like word processors are also stagnant. We don't actually need a diverse marketplace of competing word processing ideas anymore... the problem is fundamentally solved as far as the public is concerned. It's not as exciting for software developers, but it's totally natural for it to happen.

I think WordPress, wikis and Google (Docs) would disagree with you about word processing being a solved problem. And they seem to do well enough. They offer a fundamentally different notion of what you're trying to do when you're putting prose down. (Personally I hate these systems like Microsoft Word and Google Docs that force you to think in terms of a page. Especially because they don't give you any tools to actually make things lay out properly. But it's okay, because people have been fundamentally rethinking the issue for years now.)

Now if you do want page layout, I think the people who like to do that use something different — not Word. So I don't think they've really cornered any market, unless the market is people who want to use Word.

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