Originally Posted by VulcanDragon
Yeah, I was thinking the same thing but didn't have time to post earlier. The only people who thought FireWire was a failure were people who didn't have decent camcorders. I'm not going to miss it, don't get me wrong; but calling it a failure is just misguided.
Firewire was pretty good, and I still use it on my remaining Apple systems. It was faster than USB when loaded, because FW was far better at bidirectional file transfers. In fact, FW400 was entirely compariable to running an internal PATA hard drive, and it was hard to tell the difference between FW800 and SATA, even on large files.
But I think it "failed" in the marketplace for a few reasons. The license fee, well, it was $1, which is trivial since people will pay large for real throughput. It was MS that delayed full support for FW, so on benchmarks, it looked slower than USB on Windows; while it was much faster than USB on a Mac. This is because Windows remained locked at FW150, but reported it as FW400. One of the Service Packs for XP corrected this, but the damage had been done. It is also true that the Chinese government became big backers of USB, to the point of making it mandatory in China, so FW was kind of shoved aside. Thus, FW equipped drive enclosures became expensive, while USB pricing was chopped. PC makers also dithered on FW, including it on some models and not on others, and if you asked, the general reply was that it was "too expensive for the cutthroat market.
Perhaps the other issue was bus power, which was never specified, so your mileage would vary. USB does have the advantage of an exact specification (which most makers abided by, but Apple and HP were abusers on many models), making it suitable for powered devices, like keychain drives, SD card adaptors, etc. The topology is also more ideal for such devices, since FW is inherently a bus topology making it hard to use portable, hot swappable devices of convenience, and because FW hub controllers were fairly complex and expensive, compared to a USB host controller that is much simpler and much less expensive.
The real need for speed is yet another factor, since people that need speed will buy speed. So video production houses will buy Firewire, or eSATA, or NAS, or a server connected by fiber optic; while someone that is using a keychain to move documents and files from place to place could generally care less if the copying process takes an extra two seconds and USB is good enough. Unfortunately, the people who need speed didn't stick to FireWire. But then, Apple didn't either, dropping FireWire on their iPods many years ago, because even they determined that USB was not only good enough, but that the bus power of USB was more than enough to charge the device and to download music, with one single, easy to obtain cable,