Technology / The Post PC Period

The End of the PC Era

We are entering the fourth era of computing. The fist was the main frame lead by IBM; the second was the mini computer lead by Digital Equipment (where I worked) and the third was the PC which was lead by the combination of Microsoft and Intel.
I am afraid the run Intel and Microsoft had is over. The PC market is basically a replacement market at least in the developed world. There may be a bit of growth in homes as consumers add PC’s but eventually it will all be replacement like the TV market until flat panels came along. Frankly it did not have to be this way. The PC could have played a key role in how consumer electronics evolved, providing an integrated solution. But unfortunately, Microsoft was in the lead here with the Media Center and it failed. As I like to say, if Microsoft made paint we would all be waiting for the walls to dry. Now the action has moved to the net proving Scot McNealy right after ten years. The network is the computer. Right now we see the movement to applications to the net with web 2.0. And we will see that data storage will move more and more to the net. The PC will become just a network terminal and consumers will understand that they do not really need a pc. I have made an experiment to see if I could live on the net (all applications and data on the net and just lived in my browser.) The only application I could not find was an equivalent to Quicken. And I am sure someone (maybe quicken) will create that as well. I also did this with a cheap Linux box. As this all happens the client function will be integrated into game machines (check at Wii), set to boxes and other devices. The pc is no longer the king in the home.

One thought on “The End of the PC Era

  1. Interesting points. I’ve had this intuitive feeling that the ‘net will be so ubiquitous that we’ll all exist in some kind of hot zone fairly soon. BTW, there was an interesting tech article in the NYTimes today about using online storage for PC backups…just another step in the same direction.


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