This year the PC as most of us know it (i.e. the x86 based personal computer), is turning 32…the news are flooded with dark predictions, catchy headlines and grim stock-market reports. 32 years ago, IBM along with Microsoft revolutionized the mainstream PC market with their 16bit platform. Today, Microsoft is losing market share, while IBM had been out of the picture for years, selling their PC production line to Lenovo. A bit early for a middle age crisis, but the PC is definitely going through some hoops to redefine itself – again.
With the number and quality of mobile devices capable of serving the basic needs home computers needed to fulfill growing, the desktop and laptop PC market has been shrinking.
Traditional PC vendors like Dell seen a huge decrease in sales, and even bigger players like HP, Acer and Lenovo are worried that the mobile market will outgrow them. Their largest suppliers, intel and AMD are also trying to recover the mobile computing avalanche, which today is dominated nearly exclusively by ARM based devices, opting for the high efficiency architectures instead of dealing with the power hungry x86 processors.
Non-the-less, the PC market is growing in quality despite the competition. Components of increased speed and reliability – even under extreme stress scenarios – are improving, while at the same time the stability for consumer machines is unprecedented.
The rumor has it that Dell, despite being dethroned as the leader in PC sales for quite some time now, is feeling strong for the future. So strong, that its founder, Michael Dell along with a number of investors is willing to make the company private again, buying back stock from the public.
The notion behind this, backed up by Microsoft which will be dropping a big portion of this nearly $25 Bil deal, claiming that removing the pressures for short-term goals will allow the company to focus into long term investments and innovation.
Maybe this is what we really need: a strong coalition that will push hardware and software integration for a stronger product. It is perhaps too late for the PC to regain its market share, but that’s probably for the best interest of us all.
Just like with digital photography, smartphones and tablets will replace traditional computers for casual usage. The best camera to capture the moment, is always the one at hand, and if this camera happens to be your phone that will allow you to leave your “15 min of fame” delusion through tweeter or facebook – let it be. This fact doesn’t make D-SLRs or large format photography obsolete – reversely, it increases the importance of the niche the bigger, serious cameras need to fulfill.
The PC niche has to be real, but also has to be unique.
Hopefully, Microsoft and Dell will work for something “different” that what Apple has done over the last decade. But do it just as good. Hopefully better.
Just tread carefully…geniuses tend to mess up @ 33…