SAN JOSE, Calif. – On the eve of the release of Windows 8, a veteran PC executive claims the new operating system marks the beginning of the end for PCs and the OEMs who make them.
Still, Joshua Shapiro said he has a technique to enable mass customization of software loads on PCs he says could help revive the platform.
Windows 8 includes essentially two environments—the traditional Windows operating system that runs apps complied for the x86 and a new run-time environment formerly called Metro that interprets byte codes for either x86 or ARM processors.
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Shapiro claims over time Microsoft will deemphasize traditional desktops and their compiled x86 apps in favor of iPad-like tablets like Microsoft Surface and their interpreted apps. The move parallels how Windows initially included then later discarded DOS.
“Everyone invested in [traditional PCs] is screwed,” said Shapiro, who spent 14 years at IBM before becoming a consultant and entrepreneur. “With Metro and Windows 8, Microsoft is essentially walking away from the PC and leaving it to die,” he said.
Companies who make PCs will see their already thin margins wither away over the next few years from a lack of investment in PC software, he argued. “You can already see the train wreck in HP and Dell—rather than defending the PC, they are running away from it,” he said.
“It’s my contention you need to stimulate PC software development, but the only group doing that today is the computer gamers—they have the only software that comes close to stressing a PC,” said Shapiro. “Nobody wants to develop for the PC anymore because there is no money in it, and VCs won’t support PC software startups because they only support apps now,” he said.
Shapiro believes his company, Imbue, could help revive the PC software industry. Imbue has a patented method for quickly loading software on PCs that he claimed enables OEMs to offer custom software images to consumers.
It is surprising how few see the obvious.
It would be helpful for other experts to comment and add insight.
Here is how I see it.
(1) Windows (traditional desktop) is dying. No one is programming for it anymore.
(2) Even if MS/Intel get mobile right....it is too late to ever enjoy the margins that they had with WINTEL monopoly.
How did this happen?
(1) Windows/X86 allows this to happen by missing mobile / SOCs. Intel's technology team was too focused on MHz and performance when power trend was obvious 10 years ago. I hear it is only this year that Intel's technology group is now taking power seriously and stopped the crazy focus on high cost and high performance.
(2) MS software did not help either . Software is bloated for mobile. Just look at Windows 8. It takes 20G of install space. That is extra cost (20G of NAND just needed for operating system) so that adds power that iOS and Android don't have and adds cost as well. For example ....windows 8 tablet can't even offer 8 or 16G table like low end table like Ipad/Nexus due to larger size of OS.
anyone else have insight into the sickness that is killing WINTEL
Sorry, but it strikes me as another concept that seems aimed at the most clueless lightweight users.
First off, even if a PC traditionally comes loaded with certain software, so what? The user can easily remove what he doesn't want, and install what he does want. I've always spent the first hour or so, with a new PC, getting rid of useless garbage and adding in applications I do use. It's very easy to do.
Secondly, just because most people in their leisure hours like to play with low-powered toys, with tiny screens, does not translate to "therefore performance-oriented PCs with large, or even multiple screens, are doomed." That's ridiculous, right?
But most of all, a PC is not necessarily a Wintel machine. If the high performance PC becomes, say, ARM and Linux, it's still a PC. It's still a very flexible, very upgradeable, high performance tool, that allows for all manner of uses that small handhelds simply do not provide.
Perhaps someone here is offering a service that facilitates the customization of PC software to a user's preferences. But to make that point, I don't see why all the "PC is doomed" drama has to be used?
The underlying assumption is that the whole world is going mobile, and the future is ARM based tablets and smartphone with low power consumption because battery life is the scarce resource.
I don't believe it.
A lot of things are going mobile, and there is a great deal of activity in the mobile space, but I don't see the desktop or laptop going away any time soon. Think about what you do on the PC, and tell me how much of that you think will translate to a tablet or smartphone form factor?
You might be able to make a total transition. I can't.
PCs will be with us for a while, and the difficulty of making money on commodity products was there before smartphones became omnipresent or tablets existed.
The author has compared with DOS and windows and imagined that PC's will end like DOS due to windows 8.It is not so. Windows is user friendly,no need to specially learn and so every one switched to it from DOS.PC's are going to be always there in every company due to its flexibility and its reliability.Probably an advanced version of PC's might emerge out with different style.
Can we agree on some specifics?
(1) more smart phones shipped than traditional WINTEL PC in 2012
(2) more tables will be shipped than traditional WINTEL PC by 2014-15
(3) More internet searches are done today on mobile arm than WINTEL PC.
So this why windows is dying and industry is entering post PC era.
yes I agree, I don't think anyone is saying desktop will go away. Desktop will just generate less and less hardware or software revenue versus time.
Next Microsoft and Intel destroyed WINTEL platform (traditional desktop). Which means going forward that software platform is now moving to what Microsoft used to call Metro .... which is agnostic to x86 or arm which will have implications on x86 chip margins.
Bert22306, RE: "Sorry, but it strikes me as another concept that seems aimed at the most clueless lightweight users"
I think that is the debate.
What % of the 7B world population are "clueless lightweight users" or as I would say just want to use technology without hassle or without running virus mcafee scans, or without installing programs off a CD or using a computer without understanding how it works. Our firm thinks its perhaps 95+ % of world population.
So that is the market and that is what Apple has figured out.
ps. I agree eetime reader for the most part are not in this 95%.
For the leisure time, maybe. At work? At school? In industrial settings?
What I'm saying is, toys are not the same as tools. People might prefer being glued to their smart phones while watching TV or having dinner, but even these people occasionally have to do something productive. Either because they have to earn a living, or because they are still in school.
And to compare the incresing sales of handhelds to sales of PCs is a bit like trying to compare the sales of toilet paper rolls to that of PCs. They are different devices, used for different purposes, and we aren't close to saturation of the handhelds yet. Plus, the fashion statement aspect of the handheld toys practically guarantees that they will be sold in large quantities. Who wants to be seen with the klunky handheld from 5 years ago?
Yea, the new thing is always better than the old thing. I have seen it attached to many a new product, only to see it fail.
Face it, I can not do any of my work on a smart phone. QED!
They are neat little toys to occupy the shallow minded, but there are few occupations in which you could replace a PC or laptop with one of these overpriced toys. Yes they let you play games anywhere. Woo Hoo, now get back to work idiot.
Just my opinion.
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