Is the PC dead?
The simple answer is no.
PC sales numbers have been down every quarter for a while now, but are nowhere near zero.
We are at a transition point in the technological cycle. We’ve all seen a bunch of them.
Centralize – decentralize; smaller – bigger; in-house – out source.
The current centralize/decentralize swing is having a bigger impact than the previous and it is affecting how we interface with our data and applications.
Will PC sales see a dramatic increase in the near future?
Probably not. Barring a new development that make tablets and phones irrelevant – but depends on a desktop; PC sales will continue their downward trend until they come to equilibrium. It will probably be about 5 years before we see the equilibrium, as there are alternatives.
Isn’t mobile going to make these legacy PCs irrelevant?
Nope. Not unless we can find completely different way to interface with our data. The internet wasn’t designed for touch. Mobile applications are very single task centric, whereas desktop software is much more flexible. There are things I can’t reasonably do on a mobile device that are trivial on my laptop.
What about the move to VDI and similar technologies?
Yes, that will allow some companies to benefit from the inherent advantages of the technology – and I’m not saying anything bad about the technology, it is great – but it won’t kill the PC. VDI allows some users to have a smaller foot print device connect to a better managed, centralized, application and data presentation point. Where VDI works, it works great, but that isn’t everywhere.
So what is going to happen?
Well, how often does one size fit all?
The companies that can benefit from moving to mobile applications – user being more productive and costs coming down – will move in that direction.
Companies that can centralize their desktops into a VDI solution should do that, properly implemented it fixes a lot of things.
But there will be companies that aren’t big enough to see the benefits of these technologies or their workforce can’t be accommodated by them, and so for them the PC will stay the king. There will also be more acceptance of multiple models inside the same organization – the sales guys will use mobile devices, the knowledge workers will use VDI, and IT will use PCs.
Quick definition note – I’ve lumped Desktop and Laptop together under PC.
Image Attribution: Alex Clark