Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Death Knell of the PC Business?

As Michael Dell lobs Twitter grenades at HP over the latter's demise in the PC Market, as Acer retrenches from a nightmare run, as Lenovo declares it too is opting out of the PC business, as HP licks its wounds after its disastrous hadling of its withdrawal from the PC market and as the HP Touchpad is rumoured to have a price collapse to just £89 - how fitting that the HP Touchpad has actually topped the charts for sales in some areas.

I don't think many pundits would have predicted such a rapid change in the world IT order. While tablets were being considered as rising stars, no one would have predicted that Apple, in particular, would have such profound effect on the buying habits of both consumers and businesses alike. But it has.

Beware those software vendors who still eye predictable growth in a PC world. Life has indeed changed. The whole paradigm for buying, receiving, paying for and using software has dramatically changed almost overnight as Apple brought the worlds of computing and phones together to invent the whole new category (purists will know hat tablets tried but never got off the ground before).

Users, business or consumer, now pay less money for software than ever - and it's pretty good stuff. It has certainly revolutionised the way in which we receive and view data. It has taken us closer to the social networking world, blended leisure and work toegther and given us new ways to use computers for home and work.

The death knell of traditional PCs was sounded by HP in the most idiotic manner that left their customers and partners high and dry. They will pay a heavy price for that in terms of trust in one of the best brands in the business. How Bill and Dave would turn in their graves if they knew. But it's the nature of the beast. No one could have predicted the speed of change and that's the frightening part.

I have blogged a lot on Microsoft and other software vendors but I see a grim future for them. Companies and consumers are not going to stand for clunky operating systems or over-priced, said and uninventive software anymore. Give us backward compatibility and we'll take the future, thanks. It demands that software companies stop trying to shoehorn dead products into the new Cloud world that serves tablets and smartphones but get oiut there and make new stuff that just keeps the file formats. Goodness knows there are a whole host of small developers who already done this.

I predict that there will be some serious revenue shortfalls within the next 12 months for volume PC hardware and software vendors and Microsoft will not be immune. I also predict that we will see better, business-grade apps coming out for tablets.

Here's another controversial prediction. The office productivity product of the future may not have emerged. It could be Google but it could someone completely left of the field, as yet unknown. What is a real possibility is that it may be Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft must be wondering where the next bit of bad news is going to come from because this whole Cloud thing and tablet rise seems to have hit them completely by surprise.

One thing is for sure, for the first time in my business life, I have made the decision that my next workhorse business laptop will be an Apple one. As little as 3 months ago I would have bet I would have never have said that. But my iPad and iPhone have taught me I have put up with retrograde products and computing for too long.

In my mind, the PC is dead.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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