I learned earlier this year at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that the Windows PC is dead. Computing, I was told, was shifting wholesale to the iPads, Android tablets and smartphones. This prediction had an all too familiar ring for me. Three or four years ago, again at CES, predictions were that netbooks, running on every operating system but Windows, would kill the PC and Windows. Before that, it was Linux. Before that, some variant of Unix. Interestingly, before that – about 2001 — smart devices and clouds where predicted to take over computing (hey, that one is back!). Sometime before that, it was OS/2, and before that, it was the Mac interface the would kill the PC. It should have. The only competition was line command based MS-DOS. But it did not even come close, even then.
I may have missed some PC killers, but you get the picture. Yes, someday the Windows naysayers will be right. The PC, as we know it, will be dead. But with Microsoft’s new innovative Windows 8 software now making it possible to have both touch-enabled tablet and a mouse operated PC desktop in one integrated, sleek, lightweight hardware device costing perhaps 1/3 of comparable offerings, I doubt a PC killer is here. Not just yet anyway. Indeed, after Windows 8 ships, I expect that Apple will soon see its market share in tablets drop from plus 60% toward sub 10% levels (where, incidentally, Macs have been for decades and toward which the iPhone, now at 20%, has been rapidly falling). Why? For the same reason most people and businesses have stayed away from Apple products. Most will opt for the greater value and capability offered by a Windows 8 Tablet PC. For this reason, we are soon likely to find that the new Tablet PCs will increase sales rapidly in this new category, soon approaching the dominant market share of over 80% already enjoyed by PCs. Incidentally, this success should create a “halo effect” for the Windows Phone 8 market as well, and help them surpass Apple’s world-wide phone market share. Android could be expected to dominate in the phone market for some time to come, but it is vulnerable at points as phone market shares shift very quickly. The death of the PC has again been greatly exaggerated. The PC is (NOT) dead, long live the PC!