The PC Is Not Going Away… It’s Changing
A PC or personal computer by definition is, “a computer designed for usage by an individual”. So all of those people out there, you know who you are, that are stating that the PC market is shrinking and “going away” are not speaking the truth. What you are saying is that the PC market is steadily changing and that people are opting to buy smaller mobile units instead of the large desktop models we think about when someone says the word PC.
The truth is that the PC market is morphing from a majority of desktops and laptops slowly to a majority of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets. This morphing doesn’t make these devices something new because by definition they still are personal computers. These tablets and smartphones are PCs that are being delivered in smaller shapes with new touch based interfaces. They, like their predecessors, are used for the exact same purpose which is to interact with data and programs.
This new era of PCs, if we can so call it, has been driven by the consumer market and has also been extremely disruptive to business computing models that we were used to. With the establishment of market leaders such Apple and Android (Google) the business issue was focused around how a company can “mobilize” their applications and data to fit the BYOD (bring your own device) frenzy. For a business these devices don’t simply play nice in a client-server environment. They were designed for a user to buy and use apps from a dedicated store. Yes they do email, but getting data to and from your servers or business applications is extremely rough.
A magnitude of apps are being developed to try to make these consumer grade devices suit our business needs. The unstated reality about the Android and Apple mobile devices is that they all are consumer grade devices. There we said it. This means they are intentionally developed not to be used on business networks. This is why the death of the PC market hype is so confusing to the average business user. This marketing hype is being created to create the illusion that the old PC is dead and that these new devices are the future. While not technically correct, they should be saying that these devices are new applications of the personnel computer as we know it. What these marketers are trying to do is un-pin our concept of what a PC is and make us believe that their devices don’t need to play well in the predominately dominated Microsoft driven business networks. These Apple and Android mobile devices are developed for user convenience and usability, not business. But this too is now changing.
As the lines continue to blur between old PC and new PC technologies, it is clear that the lines between consumer and business grade equipment is also being confused. This means that the steadfast dominate manufacturers in the old business desktop/laptop era are also morphing their products to fit into this new era of personal computing. I’ll use Microsoft as an example as a company that is forging the path in the new business PC era.
Microsoft though slow to initially adopt and move to a true mobile platform has begun the shift with Windows 8. They are now delivering a true business grade software and hardware experience that is focused at the business user while being extremely consumer friendly. Unlike many of the current Apple or Android devices on the market windows mobile device (including touch screen desktops, laptops, tablets, and phones) can natively, right out of the box, connect to a company running Microsoft’s servers and software in their business network. This leads one to think that if 90% (http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0) of the world’s business PCs run on windows that they will continue to do so, unless they have plans to change their server infrastructure. This leads us full circle right back to the current business computing paradigm.
To summarize the PC isn’t going away, it is morphing into new personnel computer devices in a variety of user-friendly shapes and sizes. Leading this change was the consumer market dominated by Apple and Android (Google). Due to the requirements by business to use these newer PC technologies Microsoft is now in the hunt delivering business ready mobile platform technologies like Windows 8 driven devices.