IBM Veteran Suggests PC Doomed; Microsoft Disagrees
The PC is 30 years old this month. But IBM, the company that established the system, believes the PC will soon be outdated.
Until 1981, the "personal computer" was simply another term, like microcomputer, for any machine that was small enough and cheap enough that consumers could own one at home rather than it being a purely business tool.
At the time, there were many different architectures for computers, meaning rival models weren't just different in design, but were largely incompatible.
IBM's 5150 machine, however, changed all that. Also known as the IBM Personal Computer, the 5150 became hugely successful, to the point that both software and hardware companies began advertising their products as "IBM PC Compatible."
Eventually, the term "IBM PC Compatible" was simply abbreviated to PC, which is how we refer to such computers today.
Post-PC Era Underway?
But Mark Dean, one of the men who helped designed the 5150, says "I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline. But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they're no longer at the leading edge of computing. They're going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs." (Source: asmarterplanet.com)
His argument isn't just that people are starting to use different "computing" devices such as smartphones and tablets, but that the whole concept of computing has changed, with much of the activity taking place on websites and social networks, with the PC simply an access point.
PC Sales Still Strong
Meanwhile, Frank Shaw, a senior executive at Microsoft, has written on the same topic.
Shaw believes it's unfair to use Dean's phrase of the "Post-PC era." He notes that an estimated 400 million PCs will be sold worldwide this year, so a fairer description would be the "PC-plus era."
Shaw also noted that not only is Microsoft now building its own devices such as the Xbox 360, but that Windows runs in numerous non-PC devices from mobile phones to vending machines. (Source: technet.com)
Whether the PC as we know it will decline -- now, or even years from now -- remains to be seen. Even though many people have portable devices, it still seems hard for many of us to imagine a home without a PC (or at least a Mac).
Free eBook: Best Windows 8.1 Browser: Chrome vs. Firefox vs. Internet Explorer. When it comes to web browsing on your Windows 8 tablet, chances are you've already picked your favorite browser for the job. But you might be missing out: the best browsers can enhance your surfing experience with fast speeds, comprehensive standards support and intuitive navigation. We put the three leading browsers for Windows 8's "Metro" mode - Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer - to the test to see which one will serve you best. From button placement to changing tabs, your browser's layout is fundamental to how quickly and comfortably you can surf the web. Click here to download this eBook now! Note: this eBook is free, but registration is required; after that, you can select more ebooks and videos for download without registering again. If you have questions / problems with the registration form, please read this.