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
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.
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.
We can agree on all of those, but I don't think it matters.
The underlying problem Intel and Microsoft are dealing with was with us before smartphones took off or the tablet even existed: the PC market is saturated. Pretty much everybody who *can* have a desktop/laptop, *does*. Revenue in that space is increasingly replacements, not new sales.
Intel and MS face the issue of "Where does *growth* come from?", and the answer they are seeing it as "Other markets that are not PCs."
MS wants to be in the smartphone and tablet market, so Windows 8 has been designed for portability, with a flavor of it available for all platforms. The Metro system, with a bytecode interpreter for Metro apps takes a cue from Java's "Write Once, Run Anywhere" philosophy. I haven't Looked Stuff Up, but I suspect that like Java, the bytecode generated when you compile a Metro app is the same regardless of platform, and you can do something like build on Intel for an ARM target.
Intel is pushing hard with Atom for a chunk of the low power space, but ARM is winning there. Intel used to make ARM processors, before selling their StrongARM operations in a reorg. We might just see them reverse course and start making ARM processors again.
Meanwhile, there are still *many* millions of PCs out there in desktop and laptop/notebook form factors, and they are going away any time soon. People have smartphones and tablets in *addition* to them.
The PC is hardly dead - it simply isn't a growth area.
@VC Guy: You note that tablet/phone growth vs PC decline "will have implications on x86 chip margins"
Man, oh, man will they ever.
Intel client CPU ASP: ~$100
ARM client SoC ASP: ~$20
Quite a gap many big people may fall into over the next five years, methinks
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?
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?
“Sorry, but it strikes me as another concept that seems aimed at the most clueless lightweight users.”
You’ve just described the large majority of computer owners.
They use the computer for web browsing, email, light photo/video and “casual” use.
They buy processors they don’t need, drives they’ll never fill up and they help pay EE salaries.
Visit a college campus. You’ll see just as many kids carrying tablets as they are carrying laptops.
The textbooks are downloaded to the tablet and they have cases with integrated keyboards for typing up that paper.
There’s no need to print the paper. They email it directly to the professor.
I’ve visited one of the largest data analysis firms and the managers are carrying - you guessed it - tablets.
Not one of them had a laptop in their hands.
Even my work laptop is reduced to a host for a window onto the Linux farm.
The most complex task I have is sorting email on Outlook.
All of my “engineering work” takes place on a server.
The personal PC market is doomed the company is a fringe player as a shrinking market will only support the fittest of companies.
"Visit a college campus. You’ll see just as many kids carrying tablets as they are carrying laptops.
The textbooks are downloaded to the tablet and they have cases with integrated keyboards for typing up that paper."
You're talking about my nephews' demographic here. If those tablets they carry are the likes of iPads or Kindle Fire, you can be sure they also have a laptop, or possibly desktop, back at the dorm.
But when you say "cases with integrated keyboard," now you're getting into the gray territory of "tablets" like the Surface, not tablets like the iPad of the Kindle Fire. I agree that such devices could replace dektops and notebooks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Canonical has already proven this concept by combining customized Desktop Ubuntu on an Android OS smartphone using a docking station. In terms of hardware,we already have smartphones that has the capability of a netbook. And with Intel's Medfield released this year and soon for the Clover Field, I am sure x86 platform will work hand in hand with Windows 8 to create a PC-Mobilephone platform in the future.
I split my time between my office-office and my home office. For me it would be brilliant to have say a 10" tablet that could dock with my 3x 27" monitors at work or 2x 24" at home, and have all the power and storage of a capable desktop.
For the occasional field or overseas trip the tablet alone would suffice for lightweight email (etc.) work, and I would know all my stuff was in it. (But please, no clouds for me while connectivity is still not cheap and ubiquitous)
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.
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.
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.
help.fulguy ... thank you for making my point about being embarrassed to even be associated with some posters (i.e. you). If you do not have anything useful to say ....
It is a reasonable story to publish and the reader, like all engineers, is to draw his own conclusions and use the story as no more or less than a data point.
Here is the key point: No one is developing for the desktop PC anymore. There is a lot of potential left in the desktop paradigm but everyone is focused on the mobile software space hoping to become the next software success store. You can innovate as much as you want on the desktop hardware side including size, shape, power but if no one is developing for that software market then the hardware is just a boat anchor.
Remember in the 1980s, when "everyone" was working on fiber optics, and "no one" was developing RF wireless?
Heh. heh. Sounds like the same argument now.
I will repeat, though, that PC does not necessarily equate with Wintel machine. The concept may well morph into something more along the lines of docks for smaller portable devices on steroids.
I have to laugh at this sort of debate. It happens again and again. Many just have a tough time seeing beyond the news headlines du jour, generalizing that the newest trend will necessarily become the new normal, replacing all that came before. You know, like fiber optics vs wireless.
Follow the money and it no longer leads to PC software even though the PC has incredible utility.
Perhaps in five years some new app area may emerge to fuel a re-discovery of the PC by investors and marketers.
We are also headed for a world of fixed function devices instead of a world of general purpose function devices customized for a specific function. In the end this will cost the consumer more however they don't understand and the industry does understand more cheaper devices means more revenue then one device.
Wow, a lot of emotion here. Anyone who does real work on a PC knows that tablets and phones are good at being toys and communication devices but are really crappy at doing heavy duty work. Every tried editing a complicated video? You need multiple screens and horsepower. Yes you can do cutesy video processing with phones. But not any real work. Every tried to do Solidworks Modeling or Cadence board layout using an iPad? Pulllease.
I find this similar to saying that because more camera phones were shipped than DSLRs, the DSLR is going to go away. Don't think so. at the highest performance levels, you need the ponies.
Even writing software is so much easier to do on a big screen and keyboard...
This reminds me how years ago we were writing about engineering workstations--big sexy boxes loaded with RISC processors and adapter cards.
Today, these are mainly PCs th0ough there are niche market pockets of specialty muscle machines.
Would it not make more sense to move to cleaner customized OS rather then "remove stuff"? or pay someone to access "pc app store"..
This already exists, its called IOS and android..
Google is just biding its time until microsoft is weak enough for it to "allow" its android OS to be used on PC's..
I think most posters on this board believe that PCs are here to stay, And I agree PCs will be around for many years to come. But I do see them becoming more of a niche market as time goes by. Most people simply won't need them for work or for play - just us engineers and other science and tech workers, which is a small minority. Just as laptops replaced desktops for many people, tablets will replace laptops. It's already happening.
As noted,I tried to highlight the connection between Joshua's opinions and his business goals.
But I also find his opinions a great jumping off point for a discussion on the future of the PC as Microsoft rolls out its first x86/ARM operating system.
What I am enjoying here and would like to see more of is thoughtful discussion of topics such as
--The future of the PC
--The future for the chip, systems and software companies behind it
--Views of the long term impact of the Windows franchise migrating to CPU architectural neutrality.
I read a lot of stories here at eetimes but if there is ever one I disagree with it's ironic it always seems to be written by you Mr Rick Merrit.
If one wants an intelligent discussion of this article then making statements like "no one is developing for the pc anymore"
Is about as retarded as your original headline and content.
Your talking to engineers and techs here not mindless consumers.
Name one package that you use that is no longer available in an updated version because they only produce it for a tablet or phone now.
Your not working for some tabloid newspaper show some responsibility in your reporting.
Apple's revenue breakdown reflects the industry at large:
PCs are not going away - they will be around for a long time yet. They will just be a much smaller part of a much bigger ecosystem.
Well, I may be the anomaly here, but:
I don't own an iPhone, nor do I own a smart phone.
My wife has a iPAD.
Between our offices and home, I and my wife use 6 desktops or laptops.
So my percentages would look more like:
Well, he seems to be ignoring a large segment of the market. I don;t think we'll see the end of the consumer-owned box with storage. On the contrary, I think we'll see a stable number out there. I do see a vast reduction of market penetration for Microsoft. That's a long time overdue. They can't continue to foist their buggy stuff on this market. People are tired of it.
We will see more market acceptance for various flavors of Linux. Certainly many industrial customers have gone that way, and that slide is just beginning. Embedded? Microsoft is late to that party as well. This is a company that does not deserve to have the market share that they do right now. The market is only correcting.
PCs may look a little different in years to come, but the basic plan will endure. That's because the concept of a PC is a great idea. Maybe we don't want software as a service after all. :)
As I see it, my families future consumer-owned box with storage is a NAS box attached to a wirless router, with the capability to stream media, not a PC. Maybe we'll own one laptop with a relatively small SSD complimented by a few tablets. This is in contrast to the three PCs that we own currently.
For home use, a NAS box with tons of storage has become a critical component -- our own "cloud." We have several desktop PCs (never giving those up!), and I've gotten tired of replacing hard drives just because someone's C drive is almost full -- mostly with media files. The laptops and iPad also share that cloud nicely.
My biggest complaint regarding our various devices is the lack of "whole home" sharing of my biggest content-aggregator device -- the cable DVR box. How nice it would be to be able to watch that content on any desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone in the house, and to be able to archive content on the NAS box. The MSOs are slowly addressing the first issue of multi-screen sharing, but in their own closed-system kind of way, and content owners will never allow NAS archiving of their content. If they would, my "whole home" content sharing problem would be solved immediately.
PCs will be the center of office for many years
Ipad is just a toy playing games and listening music,the most things that I did on the smartphone is listening musics, watching TV shows and playing games.
It cost me so much money to buy.Battery management of smartphone or tablet is critical thing.
Battery lasts for about 8 hours for doing noting or just about 4 hours or less for watching vedios and playing games.
Now notebooks use same software as desktops, so they should be PCs too, I suppose? Notebooks and tablets will cannibalize each other for a while, with the appearance of touchscreen ultrabooks and android tablets.
I guess this nonsense about the demise of the PC has me wondering about this one fundamental point: what do people do to earn a living?
And let me answer my own question, to get the point across better. If you're a student, in high school, college, graduate school, or an academic, or just about any stripe of office worker, an engineer doing just about any kind of engineering, an architect, a graphics artist, a fashion designer, a music composer, and only time makes me want to stop here, you can't be productive on a smartphone alone.
Any student who manages to get by using only an iPad or iPhone, I have to suggest, isn't getting very good grades.
So, what is it all these people do day to day, who claim they don't need a PC?
I think I see the overall problem. There are actually more different cases than we imagined. For example, my previous office workplace migrated from desktops to notebooks en masse about a decade ago, over the course of 2-3 years. Very expensive, but the company could afford to do so, in the name of (supposedly) higher productivity. I heard of a similar migration to tablets going on at one local spot recently, but I think that might be urban legend stuff for now. If there are still some places today where these migrations to higher mobility still cannot be afforded, that's part of a bigger problem.
At my local medical center they used to enter and reference records from my annual checkup and other medical information from a desktop PC in the examination room. That PC station has now vanished from the examination room and the doctors and nurses carry ipads instead. I suspect the doctor still has a PC of some type in his office, but all of the PCs in the examination rooms are now gone. I guess they decided that those PCs took up too much space and were overkill for what they needed. This same type of PC replacement is happening all over in many businesses.
I think we are seeing the decline of the low end home PC. A missed opportunity here is the need for high end work stations. No one seems to be giving much thought to what is going to be sitting on peoples desks at work in the near future.
Yes, high-end (desktop) workstations are still needed, especially for the graphics-intensive or data-intensive jobs. And also the servers to run these crunches in batches (which don't need to be called from desktops, but can be called and viewed from notebooks). But the ratio of users to these high-end computers should be growing not declining.
Regardless of the hardware form factors -- desktop, notebook, ultrabook or tablet -- what I am more curious about is what will happen to the software business model in the future?
Consider the fact that on a mobile device, we don't call it "software," we call it "apps", and we don't pay big money for "apps". Most are just a few dollars. Will MS still be able to charge a big price for the Office suite in a world where people have grown accustomed to paying only a few bucks for an "app"?
The nature of the handheld devices is what makes the apps small, cheap, and nothing remotely comparable to Office. Plus, you CAN get all manner of freeware "apps" online, for PCs. Even stuff like Google Earth. Or games packaged with Windows.
Our office assistant person came to me to show off her new piano keyboard app, for instance. On a Wintel machine, that sort of app is usually packaged with Windows. Like games, for instance.
(And parenthetically, I quickly programmed an "app" of my own, to play piano notes from pressing keys on the keyboard, just to make the point that many of these gimmicky "apps" are just that. Gimmicks.)
Maybe the decline of PC can be viewed in a different light. There are many applications in the business world where traditional PC cannot be replaced. However, many home PC are definitely over powerful. The second group is the one that is being replaced by mobile devices. There is no doubt that PC in this second group will decline. However, one cannot say PC is irrelevant. The overall PC market may be shrinking, but the first group may actually grow, maybe at a much smaller rate. This is my two cents.
That's reasonable, IMO. Although these days many people work from home, at least some of the time.
And similarly, students usually can't go back home, or to their dorm room, and do nothing productive. Whether they're writing papers, lab reports, writing software, doing statistics homework, what have you, it just doesn't seem possible that they're doing all of this on iPads or iPhones.
Maybe on a Microsoft Surface, eventually.
I don't dispute that people are glued to their handheld toys most of their waking hours. I'm just saying, those same people also use PCs every day.
ok - so real heavy lifting work will still be on more powerful hardware. But how much work IS heavy lifting? I would suggest that very few people ever stress the computational power of their PC's for their work - they may stress it for games. So do we see a division where you have the heavy lifting shifting off to "the cloud" (possibly even in the case of games, there are services that already do this) with most work being done on tablet like devices or smaller - possibly with voice interfaces to get around the pesky touchscreen typing, and what is seem as a PC being just a dock for the tablet with a keyboard etc?
In which case - is there any money still in making local heavy lifting PC's? If there is not the volume there then either people stop making them or they get really expensive. If the volume is not there then the chip guys will focus on mobile devices or what powers the cloud, not on local serious compute for PC's.
As I do everything pretty much through PC's (including laying out rather large chips) it concerns me if such machines will get more expensive
True enough. Just as many offices have moved to laptops and docks for their bread and butter productivity machines, the same could potentially happen with tablets, e.g. like the Microsoft Surface. Tablets and docks. Useful tablets, tablets with flexible OSs, not toy tablets.
The "heavy lifting" required of most PCs, I would venture, is needed to run effectively the up to date applications, like Office, like Acrobat, and don't forget those pesky virus shields (which have a way of monopolizing CPU cycles). Try converting a document of several hundred pages into Acrobat, with an old, slow machine. It's painful.
Also you need power to run multiple large displays, even if the user isn't into super duty number crunching. Most people around me at work have two or three monitors, and most of them have similar setups at home, so they can work from home.
All I'm saying is, we're not just talking about physicists who want to run supercomputer software at home. We're also talking about lots and lots of office workers or any type of professional here, who may not know the first thing about writing a program.
In my view, what makes tablets so "compelling" is /not/ the UI experience; it's much simpler than that: they are /quiet/.
Build a fanless desktop PC with SSDs that doesn't act like a 300W space-heater, and suddenly it will be a lot more appealing!
Computers should be seen, and not heard.
the end is nigh.... arrrrrrg! Or not...
Come on, things change, evolve, get better, change shape, form factor... that's evolution. It happens to us too. It doesn't mean it's dead or going away. The PC has changed a great deal since its inception too... I don't see the difference between that change and this change.
Guessing the rich array of gestures
made possible by the device at
will have a major impact on Windows 8 and
other touch UIs.
("The Leap" appears in January)
2D touch will surely be extended by
a list of standardized 3D gestures.
I believe more users will shift to tablet and cloud for the following reasons:
- Instant on and long battery life (no need for a UPS).
- Easier app installation & removal
- App stores only contain sanitized sw (no malware/spyware).
-- If found to contain spyware/malware, the guilty company is banned and app removed.
- Easier to use.
-- Less training cost and IT costs to maintain.
- More development being done in the app space than PC sw market.
- More features: multiple cameras, GPS, gyros, multitouch...
- More power than PCs of just a few years ago.
- Lower cost of ownership (e.g. no antivirus subscriptions or hard disk crashes)
-- If it breaks, buy a new one and resync with your cloud based data.
But...what happens when the shrinking PC market isn't big enough to justify the costs of developing bigger, faster processors?
We're down to two or three companies who have survived in the big processor space. They will soon have to shift to low end processors or die. If this happens, big iron will be a lot more expensive.
Buy IBM, short Intel & AMD ;)
The impression I get is many folks seem to think that shifting "heavy lifting" work from PC to the cloud would result in more use of tablet and less of PC. However, these so called clouds consist of large server farms FULL of PC! Those rack mount systems may not look like your regular PC, but there are PC none-the-less. Many of these are custom-built and as a result may not be counted in typical market survey. The larger server farms may each have over a million CPUs for "heavy lifting". So no matter how you cut it, the demand of CPU bandwidth is increasing, not decreasing. The numbers floating in popular press are just a matter how the accounting is done.