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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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%.
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.
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.