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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Gates : The PC Era Is Just Beginning

We recently covered in this blog, Nicholas Carr's views titled, "requiem for the PC" wherein he wrote that the the PC is the engine of computing, in business it's just a cog and not even a particularly important one anymore. In Nicholas Carr's mind, PCs dispersed the power of computing to individuals, spurred ingenuity, and boosted personal productivity. They made companies leaner and smarter and they sped the development of networks, leading ultimately to the establishment of the Internet as a thoroughfare of commerce. But the rise of robust, high-capacity networks has also made the desktop PC less essential. Computing resources - from processing power to storage capacity to applications can increasingly be provisioned to users from afar.To gain economies of scale, companies are consolidating their hardware and software assets in central data centers or even renting the capabilities they need from far-flung utility suppliers and this could potentially mean the end of the PC Era.

Bill Gates, in his counter viewpoint says Although critics claim the desktop is passé, its greatest potential and that of other computing devices is still ahead. Gates viewpoint in summary:

-When PC was launched, only big companies could afford bumb terminals hooked to central units. Computing resources were scarce and costly. The advent of PC changed it.

- At economical levels, companies can now empower their workers with raw processing power providing quantum leaps in productivity, communication, and collaboration with PC technology.

- The PC is now a rich ecosystem encompassing massive PC-based data centers, notebook and Tablet PCs, handheld devices, and smart cell phones. It has expanded from the desktop and the data center to wherever people need it - at their desks, in a meeting, on the road or even in the air.

-Single-purpose applications like word processors and spreadsheets have evolved into rich collaborative tools that help teams share information and work together efficiently. Web services are enabling companies to unlock the knowledge of an organization, empowering individual workers to make more strategic decisions, and turning a company's most valuable asset into a strategic tool that drives competitive advantage.

- The Web-services revolution blurs the distinction between information, applications, and services on PCs and mobile devices, on a company's intranet, or on the Internet - offering customers seamless computing and communications wherever they are.
- In technological terms, a lot of intelligence is moving to the edge of the network. Managing a diverse ecosystem of connected servers, PCs, and mobile devices is a vastly different task than managing the relatively static and disconnected networks of the past, and software tools are evolving in turn to enable systems that increasingly manage themselves.

- Computing will change our lives more in the next 10 years than it has in the past quarter-century - and that the PC, in all its forms, will be the centerpiece of this new wave of innovation.

My Take: The PC is no doubt facing massive challenges - challenges in the form of raise of pervasive devices, advances in telecom bandwidth and consequently the advent of hosted solutions as a serious option( Gates has not touched upon this) and we are not seeing any findamental changes in the PC operating systems and collabaration is taking new forms which Windows family is not able to catch up with. Most of the criticism about the PC comes from the operating system's fundamental instability and poor reliability. I think that PC's contiuned use depends to a large extent on the speed and featured in future windows rollout and to an extent the increased reach of the functionalities of the mobile and the PDA.Afterall the PC sale volume is very less compared to the mobiles which are selling several times over.

Category: Personal Computers.
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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"