We recently covered Bill Gates view "The PC Era Is Just Beginning" written respone to Nicholas Carr's Requiem For PC- Nicholas Carr wrote, complicated, expensive, vulnerable, and underutilized computers are not needed on every desk. Mark Cuban writes about End Of The Desktop Era . Excerpts with edits and comments:
In the desktop PC age, the PC Desktop used to be a happening place. It was fun to read PC related publications that would speculate about the latest and greatest products coming to a PC near you. Not any more. HP, Dell, IBM, Gateway are trying to liven it up. The hard drives are bigger and faster. There is more memory. The graphics cards can do more. The industry tried to juice the PC by coming up with a faster, better express slot on the motherboard, but next to nobody is even using it!All the fun is happening with portable devices. Phones, Ipods, gaming consoles, PDAs, digital cameras, even hard drives and flash drives. All the good stuff is coming in small packages.The frustration of shopping for a PC in the 90s is now happening in the portablemobile device market. My Ipod, My Sidekick, my hard drives,my PSP, my Xbox even my laptop all have overlapping features. Each is getting closer to each other in feature set every day.It’s a fun time for portable mobile devices. Now every phone has a new feature. Every hard drive is smaller, cheaper, faster. Every PDA has new features and software. The implications of this transition are huge. Particularly for the retail world. Right now most new technology is sold in big stores. Lots of room for monitors. Lots of room for desktops. But those are the stagnant products. All the good stuff is small. All the traffic generators are small. We could see big changes in how retail stores are merchandised and in the size of future retail stores. It won’t take much square footage to show every possible cellphone, PDA, console, portable hard drive and attachable device.
These are economical too - For under 20k dollars in storage (and falling in price every day), it’s feasible to store EVERY digital product and offer it for sale along with service agreements.That can be a problem in a world where new features are appearing every 3 to 6 months, but we can’t trade out our devices for 12 to 24 months. Service Contracts will have to be more flexible, or they can impact the success of the very products and services they are trying to sell
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 fundamental changes in the PC operating systems and collaboration 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 continued 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. The quick rate of change in these products and how they are sold, will completely alter both how the products are sold, and how we expect to buy them.The PC is not going to go away any time, it will continue to get faster, more powerful, and smaller, then eventually when we're all on broadband, I think we will go back to the days of dumb PCs that run applications that are hosted online. Want to write a document, a "web browser" opens that enables you to do your word processing, and stores the document in your personal web space on some server farm in cyberspace. Enteprise applications are already going heavily towards web based, and more and more home applications will continue to as well. Desktop applications may be dying, but the role of desktops in accessing our applications would remain valid for some more time to come – agreed handheld devices shall dominate moving forward.