Moore's Law: Fast, Cheap Computing and What It Means for the Manager

Moore's Law, named for the co-founder of Intel Gordon Moore, defines expected advances in the need for data storage over time. In reality, it defines much more, beyond simply data storage. Read this chapter and attempt the exercises to gain a broader understanding of the importance and costs associated with Information Systems.



  • Moore's Law applies to the semiconductor industry. The widely accepted managerial interpretation of Moore's Law states that for the same money, roughly eighteen months from now you should be able to purchase computer chips that are twice as fast or store twice as much information. Or over that same time period, chips with the speed or storage of today's chips should cost half as much as they do now.
  • Nonchip-based technology also advances rapidly. Disk drive storage doubles roughly every twelve months, while equipment to speed transmissions over fiber-optic lines has doubled every nine months. While these numbers are rough approximations, the price/performance curve of these technologies continues to advance exponentially.
  • These trends influence inventory value, depreciation accounting, employee training, and other managerial functions. They also help improve productivity and keep interest rates low.
  • From a strategic perspective, these trends suggest that what is impossible from a cost or performance perspective today may be possible in the future. This fact provides an opportunity to those who recognize and can capitalize on the capabilities of new technology. As technology advances, new industries, business models, and products are created, while established firms and ways of doing business can be destroyed.
  • Managers must regularly study trends and trajectory in technology to recognize opportunity and avoid disruption.