The Future of the Desktop PC

Rob Enderle on the future of the desktop PC:

Change is the only thing you can depend on in this life, and nothing in the IT world appears on the verge of a bigger change than desktop technology. This impending transformation will likely bring about a shift in industry power and influence away from Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. and toward companies that provide connectivity or content. It will alter our offices and the way we work by replacing the large, application-crammed, unreliable PC with a simple full-function device that puts the complexity where it belongs””in the back office, not on the desktop.

Why is this happening, and why is it happening now? The forces driving the change are coming from several quarters, and they are all converging on the desktop.

Indeed. Big change ahead. Only problem is that Rob Enderle wrote about this change 10 years ago. And we still have a lot of large, application-crammed, unreliable PCs. Most of them still running Windows XP — an operating system introduced in 2001. And most of these PCs run on Intel chips.

Amazing how little the desktop has really changed in a decade.

1 reply
  1. Ed Koloditzky
    Ed Koloditzky says:

    People have been predicting the demise of the PC for as long as I’ve been working in this industry. Citrix was going to revolutionize desktop computing. Later we heard, “The Network is the Computer.” Today it’s cloud-based computing.

    Everybody’s ideas always wind up requiring a CPU, some RAM, a network connection and probably a hard drive or some other secondary storage and an OS to run it all. Any which way you slice it, that’s a PC. Sure, you can put a slimmer OS on that device, but you’re not going to fundamentally change how you use it, you’re just shifting the complexity around, while in the process making your overall environment more layered and therefore more complex.

    The reason for this is because the PC is basically a good idea. It’s an invention that’s evolved over time, but the basic premise hasn’t, and arguably shouldn’t, change.

    Similarly, an automobile is individual transportation that has 4 wheels, a motor, steering wheel, etc. Sure people have come along and suggested the segway will revolutionize personal transportation, or that you shouldn’t have personal transportation at all – just take the bus. Somehow we always wind up driving a car.


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