Aaron Suzuki (Global) - Death of the PC?  Not Going to Happen.
Mobile Communications

Aaron Suzuki (Global) - Death of the PC? Not Going to Happen.

We have all heard the discussions and read the articles detailing the demise of the PC. This is simply a bogus argument. There will be no death of the PC, not in 2013 nor in the years that follow. The "Post PC era" is better labeled the "PC-plus era". The reason why is very simple: productivity. I cannot (yet) use all 10 of my fingers on a touch-based device and make as much happen as fast as I can with a full-size keyboard with 101 keys. If this is true for me, I'm willing to bet this is true for others.

However, I agree that the portability of the work desktop is problematic. Without digressing too deeply into tech-talk, most enterprises are looking to virtual machines as a solution. The problem is that currently, except for the largest, wealthiest companies, desktop transformation through virtualization is out of reach. Current offerings are just too complicated, requiring software that is too expensive to buy and implement for all but the largest enterprises. But even with more sophisticated solutions like these, the PC is not going away. In fact, because there isn't really an easy way to achieve modern endpoint manageability (to centralize and manage desktops, making data and applications available on demand from any device, cost effectively, to a wide variety of customers), the PC is going to remain the pivotal locus of business productivity for years to come. I would even go a step further and argue that with good desktop virtualization software, devices will proliferate further in the work place, and people will use even more of an array of devices to be productive, and the PC will be the hub of productivity.

When compared to the speed with which the private cloud has gone mainstream, the desktop continues to lag in evolution from the data center. The private cloud was able to take fast hold because of the tremendous efficiency improvements carried over from the first project: server consolidation through virtualization. The promise of better manageability of virtualized data centers made the private cloud immediately relevant, maximizing efficiency gains of virtualization. The move with the desktop, similar to the data center, is in manageability. However, because desktops do not gain efficiency through virtualization the same way servers do, the path and results are different. Desktops really should have characteristics of the cloud such as centralized management, self-service and complete fluidity. When that happens, it could alter the future of the PC.

There will be more use of mobile devices and tablets and they will get cheaper and better all around. Phones will continue to get bigger and more capable. But all of these devices will remain a complement to the productivity powerhouse that is the PC. Lots of organizations are bound to create and expand BYOD policies, but the primary devices people are going to bring to work are going to be dominated by powerful computers with keyboards and pointing devices. These are amazing, powerful, and incredibly inexpensive devices that business won't be able to live without.

 

By Aaron Suzuki, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of SmartDeploy

 

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Comments

no-images

Victor on January 26 2013

Isn't the solution something like Ubuntu for Android

no-images

Geoff on January 26 2013

Looking forward to ubuntu phone possibly proving you wrong on this one. Even if it doesn't, the pathway is lit.

no-images

Robert on January 26 2013

As speed of internet approaches the speed of the I/O devices, PC will get smaller and lighter to a point where we all started - the Dumb Terminal. PC will become just an I/O device with a monitor and some storage running apps.

no-images

kevin christy on January 26 2013

I agree not because I want to but because I have to, I'm out of options that I never had to begin with. Mobile is the desirable toy of the masses that play more than they work. Is the last statement true or false. test it,how many create jobs vs how many are looking for one,"Q" answered. I have several computers vs 0 smartphones or tablets. slayerwulfe cave

no-images

Tom Groenfeldt on January 26 2013

Microsoft Win8, Intel-powered Ultrabooks and touchscreens have some great potential in the enterprise. SunGard ahs found that the combination of keyboard and touchscreen speeds up some processing significantly -- see my story on Forbes http://onforb.es/Sfr7RX.

no-images

Peter Ramsey on January 26 2013

I own a laptop but I prefer to sit at my desk and use a full-size keyboard because my books and note paper is handy. I am a literate individual with a background in research. I have over 700 friends on Facebook and I notice that people who respond to a post via a mobile device seldom read the full content of my posts. I also dislike poor spelling and bad grammer. A simple argument (pro or con) on any subject consists of 3 parts. A slogan is not an argument (although it can be effective at times). I appreciate Aaron Suzuki posting this article because I will never let go of my PC - and friends who visit, often ask me if they can use my computer! Nobody wants to borrow the laptop. Thanks Aaron!

no-images

Silver Fange on January 26 2013

That's exactly what I've been saying. Mobile devices are nice complements to, but poor replacements for, PCs. My smartphone is a boon to me when I travel, allowing me to keep up with social media and email, but it can't begin to replace my laptop, which allows me to edit video and audio files and draw pictures.

no-images

unbound on January 26 2013

...but the PC will become irrelevant (i.e. niche) within the next 5 years. The simple reality is that you can pick up a $100 add on to your tablet, and the vast majority of people will be *just* as productive as a full PC. It's a simple keyboard cover, and the primary issue mentioned in this article is solved. Keep in mind that I'm talking the masses of people, who only need to surf the web, play simplistic games, and use basic productivity software (which you can either get for free from the tablet store, or pay only a fraction of what MS Office costs). I will be one of those that will cling to my PC. But I'm also old enough to have seen many things that have gone away (including some game genres that no longer exist in the mainstream). A tablet does everything that my parents, my wife, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, and my children need to do (exception of games for my kids, who will be happy to just play on a console for that). Tablets are not being bought as supplements to their PCs, they are being bought as replacements. I'm glad that I won't be alone in clinging to the efficiency that is my PC. But I can read the writing on the wall, and I fully understand that what is best for me isn't always the best for everyone else.

no-images

lee on January 26 2013

yep. its a class issue. some people create (like Aaron here). some people use (thats john q). well most of john q doesnt require a real computer for what they do. however. try some of these on a "toy"... btw these are all "creations". try writing an article. programming an embedded device. drawing the mechanics of an escapement watch, making a movie from snippts one may have taken. making an app.. a real app. for example the creators of turbotax. drawing a schematic and from it a Printed Circuit Board. how about trading some intraday stocks? drawing a cartoon? drawing an archetectual blueprint? writing a manuscript (not a tweet... a manuscript!). the list just keeps moving along here, doesn't it? these portable devices have another serious limitation. most of the work mentioned here is enhanced via multiple monitors (serious intraday stock traders/engineers/architects and many other professionals may have four of them... perhaps even more). also don't forget who these people are all talking with. server side. by definition they're not "PC's". but they sport most everything a PC incorporates (less the UI components). yes the "big boys" are gonna make some noise for a long, long time.

no-images

aberkae on January 26 2013

I agree with your article. I just wanted to add that the world predicts pc sales are going down, which it is. INTEL's profits fell by 25%, AMD is barely making it, and logitech is following the same trend. While facts are facts I believe you can't entirely predict the pc. Why you ask. Consumers are skeptical about windows 8, some are waiting for Haswell cpu, and some don't have a reason to upgrade. Unless you build your own pc, with your own purchased products and software, I think the pc experience is a nightmare when buying a Dell, HP and or other PC vendor's products. I'm speaking through my own experiences and every one around me. From viruses to hard drive failure the list is too long. Don't get me wrong I'm a die hard PC enthusiast/ hardcore gamer. I believe unless you know how to fix your computer when you run into problems, the experience is hectic and time consuming. Until the pc becomes less of a hassle to the main stream I believe the pc isn't doing as well as would like personally in my opinion.

no-images

Phil Cooper on January 26 2013

I agree completely with the article. The endless stream of opinions about the death of the personal computer seems to come one one hand from people who do nothing more sophisticated than check email, send "Tweets" and do some casual Web surfing and on the other hand from large companies that have essentially unlimited resources. I don't see engineers who design the gadgets that these opinionated people use moving away from PC-based workstations, or at least powerful laptop computers connected to full-size external keyboards, trackballs and displays. Moreover, recent spectacular failures of "cloud storage" and "cloud computing" are making some in the information technology business reconsider virtual computing, as it may not meet enterprise requirements.

no-images

Vinnie Harned on January 26 2013

Yeah, I could have told you that a long time ago. When I'm programming or modeling in 3d, I need my mouse and keyboard. That tablet cannot give that to me. As long as people like me use computers, The PC cannot die.

no-images

Mike Perry on January 26 2013

We shouldn't forget the theft factor. A thief could clean out an office filled with iPads or other tablets in a matter of seconds. He wouldn't bother with heavy, hard-to-disconnect desktops.

no-images

J.Gabriel Diniz on January 26 2013

I believe that we're all going to witness a dramatic change in what we call PC. For me, PC is my Notebook, which can give me both, portability and mobility. For big companies, desktops will certainly live a little bit longer, but as written in the article, the amount of desktops will progressively decrease along time. They will work more to nourish the Cluster Concept, what is already happening nowadays. They will become more like "main frame" terminals than real PCs, almost a "thin client" PC, another good alternative for stretching PCs longevity.

no-images

Thongchai P. on January 27 2013

A very good piece of information.

no-images

James on January 27 2013

The first place that desktop computers will go is in the enterprise. As technologies like virtual desktop infrastructure become more affordable and easily implemented, business's will see the great benefits of that VDI, then they will stop deploying traditional desktop computers. Desktop computers will take a long time to be replaced in the consumer market. Cloud storage is not designed nor is it safe for long term archival storage. People like to keep their pictures and home movies around much longer not to mention papers and other works that they create on their home computers. Plus the continual cost of renting something cloud based would be more expensive than what you can purchase for your household. Although the home desktop computer will morph into something like a Home Server for all your backup needs for your music, movies, pictures, and documents.

no-images

P Reis on January 28 2013

The PC is a computer for personal use, and it's assumed to have: A good amount of processing power, connectivity, ample visual interface, input devices that permit good performance, etc. Nothing is said about size. The handheld devices (tablets, smartphones,...) will evolve to have: A good amount of processing power, connectivity, ample visual interface, input devices that permit good performance, etc. After all we just want a (real) personal computer that fits on a (small) pocket.

no-images

Tim on January 28 2013

Looking around my office, every desk has a laptop & docking station. This is the new norm, and desktop PC's are becoming increasingly rare. Furthermore if I look though our executive offices, they've progressed to touch devices with docking stations. It's only a matter of time before it filters down.

no-images

Robert E on January 29 2013

Actually, I don't mind seperating myself from my computer at times. It's funny - years ago I was a 'geek' who was just always on the PC. Now, everyone else is chained to their mobile devices and I'm more than happy to get outside and do something without the electo-gadget chain attached. And people picked on me then for hanging on the PC a lot - look at them now! That and I can't store my 2TB of data on a touchpad, phone, or laptop. Nor do any of them have the 27" display I like, and lastly - none of them can give me the performance this desktop can. No matter how powerful the laptop is; I can exceed it with a desktop. I think about this at times; but like the Ham Radios and CB's of old - even with numerous portable devices; many still had quite a bit of use for the desktop/home base type of stations. But mostly... being a gamer - yeah... :)

no-images

Victor on January 26 2013

Isn't the solution something like Ubuntu for Android

no-images

Geoff on January 26 2013

Looking forward to ubuntu phone possibly proving you wrong on this one. Even if it doesn't, the pathway is lit.

no-images

Robert on January 26 2013

As speed of internet approaches the speed of the I/O devices, PC will get smaller and lighter to a point where we all started - the Dumb Terminal. PC will become just an I/O device with a monitor and some storage running apps.

no-images

kevin christy on January 26 2013

I agree not because I want to but because I have to, I'm out of options that I never had to begin with. Mobile is the desirable toy of the masses that play more than they work. Is the last statement true or false. test it,how many create jobs vs how many are looking for one,"Q" answered. I have several computers vs 0 smartphones or tablets. slayerwulfe cave

no-images

Tom Groenfeldt on January 26 2013

Microsoft Win8, Intel-powered Ultrabooks and touchscreens have some great potential in the enterprise. SunGard ahs found that the combination of keyboard and touchscreen speeds up some processing significantly -- see my story on Forbes http://onforb.es/Sfr7RX.

no-images

Peter Ramsey on January 26 2013

I own a laptop but I prefer to sit at my desk and use a full-size keyboard because my books and note paper is handy. I am a literate individual with a background in research. I have over 700 friends on Facebook and I notice that people who respond to a post via a mobile device seldom read the full content of my posts. I also dislike poor spelling and bad grammer. A simple argument (pro or con) on any subject consists of 3 parts. A slogan is not an argument (although it can be effective at times). I appreciate Aaron Suzuki posting this article because I will never let go of my PC - and friends who visit, often ask me if they can use my computer! Nobody wants to borrow the laptop. Thanks Aaron!

no-images

Silver Fange on January 26 2013

That's exactly what I've been saying. Mobile devices are nice complements to, but poor replacements for, PCs. My smartphone is a boon to me when I travel, allowing me to keep up with social media and email, but it can't begin to replace my laptop, which allows me to edit video and audio files and draw pictures.

no-images

unbound on January 26 2013

...but the PC will become irrelevant (i.e. niche) within the next 5 years. The simple reality is that you can pick up a $100 add on to your tablet, and the vast majority of people will be *just* as productive as a full PC. It's a simple keyboard cover, and the primary issue mentioned in this article is solved. Keep in mind that I'm talking the masses of people, who only need to surf the web, play simplistic games, and use basic productivity software (which you can either get for free from the tablet store, or pay only a fraction of what MS Office costs). I will be one of those that will cling to my PC. But I'm also old enough to have seen many things that have gone away (including some game genres that no longer exist in the mainstream). A tablet does everything that my parents, my wife, my sisters, my brother-in-laws, and my children need to do (exception of games for my kids, who will be happy to just play on a console for that). Tablets are not being bought as supplements to their PCs, they are being bought as replacements. I'm glad that I won't be alone in clinging to the efficiency that is my PC. But I can read the writing on the wall, and I fully understand that what is best for me isn't always the best for everyone else.

no-images

lee on January 26 2013

yep. its a class issue. some people create (like Aaron here). some people use (thats john q). well most of john q doesnt require a real computer for what they do. however. try some of these on a "toy"... btw these are all "creations". try writing an article. programming an embedded device. drawing the mechanics of an escapement watch, making a movie from snippts one may have taken. making an app.. a real app. for example the creators of turbotax. drawing a schematic and from it a Printed Circuit Board. how about trading some intraday stocks? drawing a cartoon? drawing an archetectual blueprint? writing a manuscript (not a tweet... a manuscript!). the list just keeps moving along here, doesn't it? these portable devices have another serious limitation. most of the work mentioned here is enhanced via multiple monitors (serious intraday stock traders/engineers/architects and many other professionals may have four of them... perhaps even more). also don't forget who these people are all talking with. server side. by definition they're not "PC's". but they sport most everything a PC incorporates (less the UI components). yes the "big boys" are gonna make some noise for a long, long time.

no-images

aberkae on January 26 2013

I agree with your article. I just wanted to add that the world predicts pc sales are going down, which it is. INTEL's profits fell by 25%, AMD is barely making it, and logitech is following the same trend. While facts are facts I believe you can't entirely predict the pc. Why you ask. Consumers are skeptical about windows 8, some are waiting for Haswell cpu, and some don't have a reason to upgrade. Unless you build your own pc, with your own purchased products and software, I think the pc experience is a nightmare when buying a Dell, HP and or other PC vendor's products. I'm speaking through my own experiences and every one around me. From viruses to hard drive failure the list is too long. Don't get me wrong I'm a die hard PC enthusiast/ hardcore gamer. I believe unless you know how to fix your computer when you run into problems, the experience is hectic and time consuming. Until the pc becomes less of a hassle to the main stream I believe the pc isn't doing as well as would like personally in my opinion.

no-images

Phil Cooper on January 26 2013

I agree completely with the article. The endless stream of opinions about the death of the personal computer seems to come one one hand from people who do nothing more sophisticated than check email, send "Tweets" and do some casual Web surfing and on the other hand from large companies that have essentially unlimited resources. I don't see engineers who design the gadgets that these opinionated people use moving away from PC-based workstations, or at least powerful laptop computers connected to full-size external keyboards, trackballs and displays. Moreover, recent spectacular failures of "cloud storage" and "cloud computing" are making some in the information technology business reconsider virtual computing, as it may not meet enterprise requirements.

no-images

Vinnie Harned on January 26 2013

Yeah, I could have told you that a long time ago. When I'm programming or modeling in 3d, I need my mouse and keyboard. That tablet cannot give that to me. As long as people like me use computers, The PC cannot die.

no-images

Mike Perry on January 26 2013

We shouldn't forget the theft factor. A thief could clean out an office filled with iPads or other tablets in a matter of seconds. He wouldn't bother with heavy, hard-to-disconnect desktops.

no-images

J.Gabriel Diniz on January 26 2013

I believe that we're all going to witness a dramatic change in what we call PC. For me, PC is my Notebook, which can give me both, portability and mobility. For big companies, desktops will certainly live a little bit longer, but as written in the article, the amount of desktops will progressively decrease along time. They will work more to nourish the Cluster Concept, what is already happening nowadays. They will become more like "main frame" terminals than real PCs, almost a "thin client" PC, another good alternative for stretching PCs longevity.

no-images

Thongchai P. on January 27 2013

A very good piece of information.

no-images

James on January 27 2013

The first place that desktop computers will go is in the enterprise. As technologies like virtual desktop infrastructure become more affordable and easily implemented, business's will see the great benefits of that VDI, then they will stop deploying traditional desktop computers. Desktop computers will take a long time to be replaced in the consumer market. Cloud storage is not designed nor is it safe for long term archival storage. People like to keep their pictures and home movies around much longer not to mention papers and other works that they create on their home computers. Plus the continual cost of renting something cloud based would be more expensive than what you can purchase for your household. Although the home desktop computer will morph into something like a Home Server for all your backup needs for your music, movies, pictures, and documents.

no-images

P Reis on January 28 2013

The PC is a computer for personal use, and it's assumed to have: A good amount of processing power, connectivity, ample visual interface, input devices that permit good performance, etc. Nothing is said about size. The handheld devices (tablets, smartphones,...) will evolve to have: A good amount of processing power, connectivity, ample visual interface, input devices that permit good performance, etc. After all we just want a (real) personal computer that fits on a (small) pocket.

no-images

Tim on January 28 2013

Looking around my office, every desk has a laptop & docking station. This is the new norm, and desktop PC's are becoming increasingly rare. Furthermore if I look though our executive offices, they've progressed to touch devices with docking stations. It's only a matter of time before it filters down.

no-images

Robert E on January 29 2013

Actually, I don't mind seperating myself from my computer at times. It's funny - years ago I was a 'geek' who was just always on the PC. Now, everyone else is chained to their mobile devices and I'm more than happy to get outside and do something without the electo-gadget chain attached. And people picked on me then for hanging on the PC a lot - look at them now! That and I can't store my 2TB of data on a touchpad, phone, or laptop. Nor do any of them have the 27" display I like, and lastly - none of them can give me the performance this desktop can. No matter how powerful the laptop is; I can exceed it with a desktop. I think about this at times; but like the Ham Radios and CB's of old - even with numerous portable devices; many still had quite a bit of use for the desktop/home base type of stations. But mostly... being a gamer - yeah... :)

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