The PC is dead, long live the PC! That seems to be the thrust of the recent (August 27) thoughts of the man behind Dell, the company that probably made the machine you spend most of your day staring at.
Michael Dell told an open meeting of computer bosses in San Francisco that since the term ‘post-PC’ was coined in 1999, PC sales have increased more than three fold.
Google the term and you’ll find an alternative and perhaps more revealing source: a Wikipedia page that dates the term to 2011 and its coinage to Apple’s new boss Tim Cook.
The Apple iPad has made the tablet computer a genuine competitor to the desktop machine in some fields. Before that the company’s iPhone made the smart mobile a whole generation’s first computer.
Microsoft’s first tablet, the Surface, will have its own keyboard, further stepping onto the desktop’s home turf. And when Apple and then Microsoft recently released new operating systems they were reviewed as being designed with mobile devices in mind first. Some even called them a disaster for PC users.
Take a look away from the tech blogs at the investment advice sites and you’ll see that some of them see ‘post-PC’ as being with us already. Warnings about the future of companies like Dell, Hewlett Packard and even Intel abound. Mr Dell can respond that 380 million desktop machines were sold in 2011.
But while the head man was confidently defending his company’s products the latest announcement from Dell in the UK was not of a new machine but a new service. Cloud computing from Dell is on the way and Michael Dell also spoke in San Francisco about the ‘virtualisation’ of PC desktops his firm is engaged in so work systems could be accessed from any device.
But are we seeing a growing divide between work and play rather than the death of the PC? Surely VMware CEO Paul Maritz had a point when he told the Californian round table: “I defy anyone to edit a PowerPoint presentation on a mobile phone.”
PC Mag columnist John C. Dvorak was blunter when he called post-PC evangelists, “similar to the bicycle nuts who seriously think the car is dead and the vegans who think that bacon is dead”.
It’s a fair bet that if you’re reading this at work you’ll be clicking the links with a mouse and if you’re in the coffee shop then you’ll be using your fingers.
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