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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