Chapter One: Invisible Engines

Many modern products run on software platforms. Car engines and navigation systems have one, as do jumbo jets and the handheld devices we use for emailing and organizing ourselves. Video game consoles from Atari to Xbox are based on them. French debit cards have included them for years; these “smart cards” may eventually replace the magnetic stripe cards that are standard in the United States. Sophisticated mobile telephone services such as i-mode in Japan are based on software platforms. Personal music devices are as well. And, of course, all sorts of business and home computers also have them.