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.
Just look how PC motherboards have been reduced in size. In the 1990's they would fill the entire horizontal area of a classic IBM PC clone with memory chips. Now the modern PC motherboards are just a quarter size card with all the space taken up by connectors and a few capacitors.
The only things left to evolve are the integration of the CPU, GPU, memory and instruction sets. Which is where smartphones are now.
Personal desktop is practically gone. How can it be assumed I can stay in one place all day? Hours long meetings, yeah the focus should be on battery life. I think making presentations on tablets is not too far away.
In this case, as in many others, pieces of furniture are being confused with functional tools. Ultimately, the hardware doesn't matter that much other than that the smaller it gets, the more different form factors it can go into.
A tablet or smart phone is not a poor desktop application tool because of its size. It's a poor application tool because of the user interface. Hard keyboards work. Large monitors have value. But, the power in a typical tablet or smart phone matches that of a desktop PC from not that long ago. That power will only keep growing.
At some point one of those tiny devices will be capable of running a big CAD or graphics application, but the small screens never will. Along with that is the software component of the UI. What works for a smart phone or tablet form factor may very well not work in a desktop application setting.
Dinosaurs will always be with us, to paraphrase the bible......oooops there're gone! All the majors release figures stating that PC sales are declining. All the forecasters say PC sales will be static/declining. Will the electronic device marketplace is roaring ahead (smartphones/tablets).
Some see the train coming and some wait until it runs them over. Just as DEC/Sun didn't see the collapse of their eco-system I think many here are clinging to WinTel for dear life.
Since the majority of office workers (of any stripe) tend to use a desktop computer, it think it far to early to predict the demise of the desktop computer (my interpretation for "PC"). This market will continue to grow, albeit at the replacement rate. Whomever is left standing in this marketplace will be quietly successful. Alternatively, after you satisfy any pent-up demand left in the smart phone and tablet market... then what. Back to the replacement rate again. I don't think you are going to make 30-45% margins on smart phones or tablets for the developing world. My observation is that you are misinterpreting Apple's success. They themselves say they are a "consumer" electronics company, whose goal is to sell electronics to "lightweight users" (you take it out of the box and "just use it"). I know (too many) folks that purchase an Apple computer and then run Windows on it. What does that say to the traditional Wintel vendors. I think Microsoft has figured this out, hence the Surface tablet.
Well it's a dumb and perhaps intentionally provocative title.
How about "win8 arrives at a time pc sales are declining".
Nobody could argue about that then unless you then go and put more bs in the content.
Like claiming you have the solution with some wonder product.
What a garbage report.
I would certainly agree that a time may come when the small handheld can be plugged into a dock, which provides it with a much more credible and useful user interface, for productive work.
Perhaps also additional non-volatile storage space, additional and flexible I/O capability, and on and on.
It's not entirely clear to me, though, when such a dock system makes sense, and when it's just as easy to build a different product. A dock for a notebook makes a lot of sense. Because you can take the notebook to meetings or anything away from the office, but then you can also dock it when you're in the office and need to generate real stuff.
Maybe you can argue that this concept can apply to cell phones too, or maybe not.
In case you guys don't know, most EDA is now run on massive servers, with the client side being little more than a dumb terminal. Even with vertical market applications, there's nothing in the way of a tablet+dock being the dominant interface.
I am a bit embarrassed to be included in the same profession as many of the commenters as so few of you even addressed the nature of the article.
Having managed in a large corporate event, I can attest that software management can have significant overhead. To that end, I can see value in their product. How it will revive the PC industry .... that I am not sure. The article really did not address this.
Traces, the statement that most EDA runs on large servers is a narrow viewpoint. That is true for very large companies, but there is a vast number of seats that are not in this situation and still run on PCs. Generalizing to CAD, most Cad (Autocad/Solidworks) runs on individual PCs.
Interesting concept of your phone, etc. docking, but when bandwidth is "infinite" and high enough quality computing for UI is ubiquitous, then really do you need to dock anything, or does the UI device, whether phone, tablet, keyboard (with HDMI), television, etc. simply act as a portal with login?
I tend to buy AMD's analysis (probably they are going to be right, first time in life) on the embedded market. Of course it is up to the industry veterans and wall street analysts to figure out what this market actually is. In my view embedded is everything minus the good now old computer. Trend is towards connectivity, things in household to commute to workplaces. Skeptical? See the growth chart of embedded market. It is growing 2-3x faster compared to the good old computers for last several years.
Of course PCs will be there for those who can afford. Emerging market is sure to skip this piece of history.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.