Category Archives: Post-PC World

The birth/rise of the PC, redefines past machines as a BC

Many people are calling this the Post PC era. I can’t agree.

post_pc_revolution

Actually the past era we had large  computers (desktops and laptops) we were using as Business Computers (BCs) and also doubling as personal computers (PCs).

Then we got TRUE personal computers

  • Phone sized computers
  • Credit card size computers (iTouches)
  • very light Tablet computers (IPad and Android)

And in addition to that the Internet of Things (IOT) was born to supplement the World Wide Web.  With it we got devices like:

  • Music players
  • Streaming TVs
  • E-Readers
  • Watches
  • Fitness Bands
  • Google Glasses and other Wearables
  • 3-D printers

These devices assume an Internet or cloud. Assume multiple devices exist they inter-operate with. We read our Kindle books on Kindles or iPhones or Computers. We watch our NetFlix or Amazon Prime or purchased content on devices or our computer. Without the device there are ways to access our content, or on a different device. But many of these can make the claim to be Personal Computers. Consuming content is a highly personal task.

Death of Microsoft for consumers? Introduction

But why is Win 8 not getting traction?
Why is the iPad selling so many iPads that it is on a track to sell 1.5 billion units in the next few years total exceeding the number of PCs in the work place?
Why are Android based smart phones threatening Apples and weakening MS?
Why are Android tablets (inlcuding Kindle Fire) threatening Apple and Laptop sales in long term?

http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/05/microsoft-windows-rt-price-cuts-dont-stop-death-spriral/ http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/11/idc-shows-windows-8-is-actively-destroying-pc-sales/

Laptop sales are non-existent practically while Tablets and Smart Phones fly off shelves and assembly lines, and Surface sales are dismal compared to any other tablet. Given Ballmer (not Gates, he tended to follow through on failures and turn them to sucess) track record it and Apple and Amazon and Google’s tremendous sucess that is not likely to change.The term post-PC is not quite the right term to describe the transformation of the computing landscape. I finally wrapped my mind around what is happening, and what it does to the present and future of computing and I think can offer some insight. For 2 decades we used Business Computers (BCs) as Personal Computers (PCs) and relied on CDs/DVDs.

Then Smart Phones and Tablets and EReaders and TV Boxes (Apple TV, Roku) the first true PCs came – they relied on the cloud and streaming and app stores and were so cheap compared to laptops and so thin and light – and apps tied to the cloud like Facebook, Yelp, Google Maps, Pandora and games meant people had personal PCs that fit in purses and pockets finally not big expensive Business Computers. Heck we buy a new smart phone every 2 years at phone stores and delight in using them and learning them. Smart Phones and Tablets are TRUE PCs (personal computers) because they are just so easy to hold and use. I Skype on my iPad even when my Dell and MacBook Pro are nearby because it is so light and easy to point the video camera at me or my house and yard when Skyping with my kids in Tokyo for example. I prefer my tablet and many prefer their phones on subways and commuter trains to watch movies and TV shows and browse web with headphones and instant message and chat and SMS with family and friends. How do Laptops feel when doing that? When one takes a pic with Personal SmartPhone computer or uses their GPS (and Trapster) when walking or catching bus or driving or maps the sky with Google Sky maps while star gazing one realizes how personal these devices are and how useless laptop BCs are in that scenario. When we file insurance claims after a car crash at roadside, or use Yelp to see where to eat, or lookup a flight number on our phone or tablet it feels better than a laptop.

Laptops and Desktop sales ground to a halt while people purchased and upgraded PCs from phone stores, won tablets in lotteries, bought them for themselves and family members and enjoyed PCs without bloated business apps and bulky expensive machines with big clunky OSes and expensive apps and error messages. They even are losing interest in their bulky consoles because they don’t fit in purses and pockets. BCs/Laptops have short battery lives and are well more bulky BCs than PCs.

Now why do they want to buy BCs with Window 8 except luddites embracing the old model? Luddites who laugh and savagely critique tablets and iDevices as fails (just like Mainframers laughed at PCs) while regular people buy and use the devices in droves… When I use my laptop its for business its not a great Skype machine (my Tablets are better love to Skype on them), a miserable reader for news and docs, not small enough to stream my music and movies my other devices are a PLEASURE to do all that and iCloud makes backup transparent while backing up laptops and accessing my laptop data anywhere is still lots of work and planning. I also switched from Dell and HP to MacBook Pros and Airbooks which are so far ahead of WinTel boxes in speed, backup ease and customer service and LIGHT LIGHT LIGHT and gorgeous, and run the awesome Mac OS and Windows faster than most Windows hardware. Laptops are bulky and the keyboards are not needed for most personal apps and games so MS is lost in this fast growing market with over priced worse hardware and OS way behind Android and iOS and 1/1000th the number of apps which is what people want. The money here is in apps, store stocking fees (the 30% Apple takes from every app and whatever % Google takes), commissions on sales and Apple, Amazon, Google, HTC, Samsung, Roku has tons to offer here and so much more in the pipeline and Microsoft almost nothing now and little in the pipeline and what personal devices they do have few want… The torch passes to true PC Makers because Ballmer unlike Gates could not see change, embrace it and become a player there.

I am as guilty as many I laughed at iPads (while buying 3 new Android smartphone in under 5 years and numerous iDevices for my kids). But when I won an ipad 2 at a lottery I fell in love with it as a PC once I used it for many tasks I was doing on my laptop or would never do on my laptop as it was not practical. And my family were more interested in using my Tablet than my laptop. I ended up buying an iPad with Retina Display I grab and use instead of my laptop for many personal tasks, and simple business tasks.

This is NOT a typical cycle.

XP, Vista lots of Desktops and laptops were being bought.

Now laptops and desktops are such a low sales item that Dell and HP (the big 2) are in serious financial trouble, and those people used to make money hand over fist.

HP is so upset by Surface read: http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/05/microsoft-windows-rt-price-cuts-dont-stop-death-spriral/ http://semiaccurate.com/2013/04/11/idc-shows-windows-8-is-actively-destroying-pc-sales/ they are ramping up to make Android tablets where they feel they are not at a huge disadvantage since MS does not pay for Win8+Office when they factor in Surface costs compared to HP and Dell and others (Samsung, Lenovo) who have $100-$150 added to cost of their tablets to have those things in a very cost sensitive market.

And when laptops and desktops don’t sell MS revenue is super low when no one buys the BCs (for biz or personal use) but other software makers are selling droves of software on post-PC devices like Smart Phones (Androids and iPhones) and Tablets not made by MS and huge commisions are being collected on app and content sales on those devices. For the first time in history MS is not in the personal computing market while Apple, Android HW makers running Android by Google, people are buying massive music and TV/Movie services running on iTouches, Rokus, Apple TVs and Xboxes*.

It is not business as usual whether you realize it or not. Laptop sales and Windows used to be the way people compute, and Desktop apps were a whole ecosysytem but they now are on SmartPhones and Tablets doing the tasks they used to do on Windows and more including apps at obscenely consumer friendly prices and cloud apps on these personal devices. And MS is wayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy behind and does not seem to have a strategy to get back and be profitable and high volume while Apple, Google and Amazon are raking in the profits and controlling the present and future.

* The only place MS has a presence but they lost billions to gain that presence while Apple and Amazon and Goggle makes billions in profits. And a whole cloud based and app based software market exists Microsoft has no products in and no revenue stream from and its clear that market is where people are spending their money.

One response:
Waiting on Windows 9, every time MS has made a big change in Windows the
first version of it is a waste, Windows 3 v Win 311, Win95 v Win98, WinNT3.5
v WinNt4. Vista v Win 7. Given the pattern Win 8 v Win 9. It is just the way
this company rolls; even back to DOS 1.0 vs 2.0. Ship deadlines are far
more important to them than shipping a working product. I think there is a
lot of potential in Win8 but experience has taught that to see that
potential realized wait until version 9 ships. On the server side Windows
2012 R2

Microsoft made money off HW Mfrs who shipped tons of machines, companies that bought software licenses (Office, Server stuff, Visual Studio, etc.) and individuals that bought software (Office mostly) and hardware (mice, keyboards).  Now how do they make money off iPhones, Droid phones, IDevices and iPads and Android Tablets and Kindle/Kobo/Nook readers? Plenty of people are making money: the mfrs, the app developers, the comissions to Apple and Amazon and Google on tons of apps and digital content, where is Microsoft making money in this scenario? Short answer is they don’t. Ballmer missed this chance and burned the partner and customer bridges  so many times he can’t fix this, and even if he miracuously did no one would beleive him and continue to trust Apple, Amazon and Google who understood this early enough and worked hard enough to ‘own’ this new era for now. Can HP and Dell make money in this scenario? Maybe if they take Apple, Samsung and HTC seriously and out compete them and make their alliance with Android/Google not MS.

I think Ballmer and MS grossly miscalculated that the future of computing is only business software and business devices, when in fact individuals doing personal/entertainment computing are quickly creating a separate multi-billion dollar market with no MS presence. And they are so badly managed the only market where they saw and conquered an opportunity they lost billions (the Xbox) rather than made billions.

Desktops and laptops are BCs (Business Computers) under my definition. Microsoft has made a boatload of money in the past because people bought BCs (Laptops and Desktops) for home and personal computing. Now better PCs exist, and BCs will ONLY be bought for business a smaller market segment than PCs.

Now actual devices exist that are PCs – Handheld Computer Phones, Handheld Tablets, TV Boxes and E-Readers. These people will not buy BCs and use them for personal use, but they will buy many PCs much moreso than BCs. Phone upgrades every 2 years, new tablets frequently and multiple tablets, set top boxes and tiny iDevices for Music and simple tasks. These PCs are a HUGE market much larger than the BC market in fact thanks to Cloud apps on the web we can do business tasks on them too so for example I filled in my Timesheet on a train instead of my work computer but then went back to all my PC tasks. BCs are LOUSY at personal computing tasks. PCs excel at these and threaten BC sales (laptops, desktops), consoles (DS, Playstation, PSP, Wii) and TV providers (Comcast, FIOS, TimeWarner Cable, Direct TV) because they are so small and cheap and the apps/games cost $1 and up whereas BCs and consoles want $20-$60 for their games/apps. And the people who make this OS (Apple and Google and Amazon) are making a killing off comission of app sales, movie sales, TV sales, book sales.

I never said BCs are dead, but what I did say is that PCs are now a viable separate entity and for many reasons will outsell these BCs in droves. A person with one BC at work will own a smart phone and a tablet and a Roku say and a iPod for the gym, and his teens and parents will have 2 or more devices that are PCs. These devices will outnumber PC and they will prefer cheap apps and cloud apps that can be used on any device not feature heavy monolith apps corporations prefer. A cloud free or super cheap word processor for example will thrive in these devices with a few decent features, upselling them to an expensive office suite becomes hard.

BC sales were high in past because people bought them to use as PCs. Now they are ill suited for that task. So they permanently lose a place in the market for people to use them for personal tasks. It is not like we are going to pull out a laptop and take pictures at a wedding like we would a smart phone or point it at the sky like google maps or listen to it talk us through navigation down a street like we use Google maps. Nor will we curl up in bed watching a Youtube / Music video or TV show with our laptop.

A luddite response:
I’ve read several stories on the death of the PC but i’m buying it.
I’ve worked for a company that employees 1500 workers and uses literally hundreds of PC’s. They are not going to give them up to run tablets or even laptops.
I visited libraries all over and not one of them uses tablets or laptops. They all use PC
Even schools use PC not anything else.
From small businesses employing a handful of workers to major companies the PC is still king.
For myself i can really only afford one system. So i now use just a laptop because i travel on occasion. But given a choice i’ll take a PC every time.
Considering the hackers and the mistakes companies make i prefer to keep my own files and not use a cloud.
I can also use my files without having to go on line.
I never buy into the scare tactic that something is on the way out.
I still listen listen to AM radio. I’ve yet to find anything worth replacing it with.

I never said BCs are dead, but what I did say is that PCs are now a viable separate entity and for many reasons will outsell these BCs in droves. The hard actual sales figures of every retail channel and manufacturers confirms this, it is hardely future speculation. A person with one BC at work will own a smart phone and a tablet and a Roku say and a iPod for the gym, and his teens and parents will have 2 or more devices that are PCs. These devices will outnumber PC and they will prefer cheap apps and cloud apps that can be used on any device not feature heavy monolith apps corporations prefer. A cloud free or super cheap word processor for example will thrive in these devices with a few decent features, upselling them to an expensive office suite becomes hard.

Desktops and laptops are BCs (Business Computers) under my definition. Microsoft has made a boatload of money in the past because people bought BCs (Laptops and Desktops) for home and personal computing. Now better PCs exist, and BCs will ONLY be bought for business a smaller market segment than PCs. Of course offices and libraries will have BCs but most people don’t need them to do the things they can do with smart phones and tablets so they do these things and don’t avail themselves of the library BCs.

As for your personal experience, that tells what you will do, not what mainstream population will do.  Sales figures from various channels and observing how many smartphones, tablets, Ereaders and iMusic devices people are using in public confirm what the mainstream trends are. And worldwide even in super poor areas people get smartphones and then use them people who will not lb likely to own BCs for a long time. I ride on subways and trains where the smart phones and tablets and Ereaders and iMusic PCs outnumber the laptops by huge multiples with most people carrying two or more of these non BC devices.

Now actual devices exist that are PCs – Handheld Computer Phones, Handheld Tablets, TV Boxes and E-Readers. These people will not buy BCs and use them for personal use, but they will buy many PCs much moreso than BCs. Phone upgrades every 2 years, new tablets frequently and multiple tablets, set top boxes and tiny iDevices for Music and simple tasks. These PCs are a HUGE market much larger than the BC market in fact thanks to Cloud apps on the web we can do business tasks on them too so for example I filled in my Timesheet on a train instead of my work computer but then went back to all my PC tasks. BCs are LOUSY at personal computing tasks. PCs excel at these and threaten BC sales (laptops, desktops), consoles (DS, Playstation, PSP, Wii) and TV providers (Comcast, FIOS, TimeWarner Cable, Direct TV) because they are so small and cheap and the apps/games cost $1 and up whereas BCs and consoles want $20-$60 for their games/apps. And the people who make this OS (Apple and Google and Amazon) are making a killing off comission of app sales, movie sales, TV sales, book sales.

I never said BCs are dead, but what I did say is that PCs are now a viable separate entity and for many reasons will outsell these BCs in droves. A person with one BC at work will own a smart phone and a tablet and a Roku say and a iPod for the gym, and his teens and parents will have 2 or more devices that are PCs. These devices will outnumber PC and they will prefer cheap apps and cloud apps that can be used on any device not feature heavy monolith apps corporations prefer. A cloud free or super cheap word processor for example will thrive in these devices with a few decent features, upselling them to an expensive office suite becomes hard.

BC sales were high in past because people bought them to use as PCs. Now they are ill suited for that task. So they permanently lose a place in the market for people to use them for personal tasks. It is not like we are going to pull out a laptop and take pictures at a wedding like we would a smart phone or point it at the sky like google maps or listen to it talk us through navigation down a street like we use Google maps. Nor will we curl up in bed watching a Youtube / Music video or TV show with our laptop. I listen to FM radio stations via Tune-in or I Heart Radio or Sirrius or Pandora on a Bluetooth headpiece from my phone or tablet a laptop seems an atom bomb to kill a fly on that one in both size and weight.

BUT high end BCs for gaming and dev are becoming the minority and PC devices the majority.

Will I still love my high end BC Dell Desktop with 2 monitors? Yes. Will I still love my high end MacBook Pro Retina I run OSX and Win 7 on? Sure. Will Google, Apple and Amazon and many mfrs sell dozens or hundreds of PCs for every 1 BC sold? you bet.

Ballmer and any developer that miscalculates the number of PCs out there and how they can play games, run apps, run cloud based apps in browsers or apps and does not go where the bulk of the customers are will have severe profit problems as the BC market is now the least likely place to find high profits.

The iPad with Retina Display and 4 GPUs will run some superb games too as can say the Galaxy Note II or Galaxy 4 and Kindle devices, Nexus, etc. so we as developers need to avoid the mistep Microsoft made by dissing or marginalizing the rise of the PCs and decline of the BCs.

My premise not that BCs will go away or are dead. I love my MacBook Pro as laptop running OSX and Windows 7, and I love my work desktop.

My premise is that Microsoft assumed the high BC sales that started a few decades ago will and woud continue and their strategy of assuming they would control 90% of the computer consumers and hardware vendors and need not develop for any other assumption except corporations control most of the money is just proving to be wrong. True personal computers are selling so well and outselling BCS in huge quantities, and getting upgraded so often and the center of innovation that corporations and people are buying them in huge numbers and MS has no viable strategy to tap the massive profit base and win the hearts and minds of these customers.

I believe BCs (laptops and desktops) will be here for a while longer till docking frames (monitors that servers second monitors for PCs, mice, full sized keyboards) and hybrids (pcs that run desktop OSes when in frame, bootcamp style) make them obsolete.

But I think MS is so far behind Apple, Amazon and Google even a new CEO after Ballmer may not be able to regain these lost markets.