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Software giant's former tech chief is uncertain how Windows 8 will fare

People argue about 'are we in a post-PC world?'. Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world.  That doesn't mean the PC dies, that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things.

That statement sounds like your typical rhetoric from mobile players like Google Inc. (GOOG) or Apple, Inc. (AAPL).  However, a man who was once considered destined to become the CEO of Microsoft Corp (MSFT) delivered it.  That man is Ray Ozzie.

I. The Man Who Might Have Been CEO

Ray Ozzie's career at Microsoft was relatively short-lived, but he made quite a splash while he was there.  After developing Lotus Notes in the 1980s and 1990s, working with International Business Machines, Inc. (IBM), Mr. Ozzie had founded Groove Networks -- makers of a collaborative shared notespace product.  When Microsoft acquired Groove in 2005, as an addition to its Office Suite, Mr. Ozzie became Microsoft's Chief Technology Officer.  

In 2006 Bill Gates departed from the role of chief software architect and willed the position to Mr. Ozzie, leading many to believe he was the heir apparent after new CEO Steve Ballmer retired.  However, it was not to be.  Clashes with current Windows President Steven Sinofsky reportedly led to Mr. Ozzie reevaluating the company and his role at it.

Ray Ozzie at Microsoft
[Image Source: Software Development Times]

He stepped down in Dec. 2010, leaving behind a lasting impact in terms of having pushed Microsoft to embrace cloud services.  Mr. Ozzie, who last year began recruit top talent for a mysterious communications startup dubbed "Cocomo," says that ultimately the push towards the cloud that he inspired at Microsoft was not enough to prevent the demise of the traditional PC.

The 56-year-old software architect's comments were his first public comments since his Microsoft departure, and they came at an interesting time -- just hours after Apple's announcement of the iPad 3.  Mr. Ozzie's speech was delivered at Geekwire's Seattle tech conference.

II. Ray Ozzie: "Shift" Needed for Windows 8 to be Successful

Mr. Ozzie offered some cautious praise for his former employer.  He implies that when he first came to Microsoft, things were badly broken.  He remarks:
My job there was primarily a change management job. I was asked by Bill (Gates) and Steve (Ballmer, the CEO) to come in, look at the company, decide what was broken and try your best to fix it.

I feel very good about a number of things that did change. The company's a lot different now, it's come a long way and I'm happy about some things and I'm impatient about other things.

Metro Apps in Windows  8
A slew of Metro Ui apps in Windows 8 [Image Source: The Verge]

His mixed sentiments regarding his former employer are mirrored in his thoughts on its upcoming star productWindows 8.  He cryptically remarks, "If Windows 8 shifts in a form that people really want to buy the product, the company will have a great future.  In any industry, if people look at their own needs, and look at the products and say, 'I understand why I had it then, and I want something different', they will not have as good a future. It's too soon to tell."

He did not elaborate much on what kind of "shift" he thought Windows 8 needed in order to be more appealing.

III. The "Gloom and Doom" Scenario

He was, however, happy to outline the worst-case scenario for Microsoft, though -- or as he calls it the "doom and gloom" scenario.  He said that such a scenario would comprise customers switching fully to portable, non-Windows products.

Is the good old PC on its death-bed?  Mr. Ozzie sure thinks so.  He concludes, "It's a world of phones and pads and devices of all kinds, and our interests in general purpose computing -- or desktop computing -- starts to wane and people start doing the same things and more in other scenarios."

PC in the trash
[Image Source: Sync-Blog]

Of course such statements have often proved premature in the past.  For example, CNN Money famously wrote that Microsoft's consumer brand was "dying" in 2010.  That same year Microsoft ripped off the biggest operating system sales in its history and had a strong showing on the gaming console market.

That said, Ray Ozzie was a voice that Bill Gates and others at Microsoft trusted.  So perhaps his statement carries a bit more weight. 

Source: Reuters

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Mr. Ozzie has been blinded by razzle dazzle
By geddarkstorm on 3/8/2012 1:12:36 PM , Rating: 5
No, we are not in a post PC world. Yes, mobile devices are on the rise, but mobile devices are consumption devices. A tablet could never allow you to produce content like a PC can. You can't write reports, you can't make music, you can't program games on the mobile device itself at any speed or efficiency remotely like a desktop. And you certainly can't do science or anything that requires powerful computation.

Yes, tablet hardware has grown by leaps and bounds, but it is no where near the power of desktop hardware, and it can only expand so much due to the limited size, power, and thermals of the "mobile" package.

Gamers, content creators, students, scientists, people who are productive.. they all need PCs/laptops, and mobile (tablet/phone) devices will never supplant that. And in the end, the reason isn't only the hardware per se, it's the interface. Touch screens cannot rival a keyboard for writing. A small 10" screen can't rival a 19" monitor for multitasking (movie watching/game playing also counts). Moving your figure around can't rival the versatility of a mouse with it's ability to both drag and click in multiple ways for highlighting text, bringing up alternate menus, and interfacing with the machine in a localized and rapid manner. The work flow of a PC/Laptop is in no way being challenged by the basically non-existent work flow of a mobile device.

Dock systems like the Transformer, once Windows 8 hits, can in a way bridge some of this gap and blur the distinction (other than for hardware). But will people really care to tether their mobile devices inefficiently to a dock when they can just have dedicated, cheap PC hardware to give them another computer to work with while keeping their mobile free to be mobile (the whole point of mobile's existence)?

Microsoft needs to realize this. They need to realize that for pure consumption, a mobile device is more convenient than a PC and obviously wins out. But for productivity, there is no contest, the PC/Laptop is the only way to go. Instead of trying to merge the desktop and mobile experience and thereby making a bastardized system, Microsoft needs to realize the difference between desktop and mobile and play to the strengths of both. We no longer need an All-In-One; and if Microsoft and differentiate the desktop and mobile experience meaningfully, it stands to make a much larger profit while giving consumers powerful tools to maximize the differing utility of both styles of devices.

Hopefully Mr. Ozzie comes off this iPad high and gets back down to earth. The only thing magical about the iPad is how it blinds people into a momentary "mobile will solve everything!" frenzy. The truth is almost always in the middle.

This is all just my analysis, of course.

By retrospooty on 3/8/2012 1:43:18 PM , Rating: 5
Also, you can add the whole enterprise sector. You know, the software that the whole world runs off of. Even the plants that make Mac's, iphones and ipads all run off PC and MS enterprise server software. The accounting , parts procurement, logistics, reverse logistics, shop floor, and every other piece of the business all runs on PC's and Windows servers.

A viable replacment isnt close, none has even been started, much less planned, sold, implemented, debugged, and widely adopted. It will be decades to topple that beast...

RE: Mr. Ozzie has been blinded by razzle dazzle
By Operandi on 3/8/2012 2:26:47 PM , Rating: 2
Also smart phones and tablets are still relatively new segment the only direction they have to go is up but that doesn’t mean they are replacing existing market segments (desktops and notebooks), for some yes, but not for many.

I mean I really like my Android phone but now that wow factor has worn off I use it less and less aside from the basic web page reading and e-mail composing.

By Makaveli on 3/8/2012 7:21:24 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think I could switch to browsing on my phone only the screen is too small.

My desktop machine at home is a 24` 1920x1200 IPS monitor.

What your doing would just cramp my style too much.

By SlyNine on 3/11/2012 6:20:46 PM , Rating: 2
I'd say Smart Phones have reached the limits of what they can provide in the form factor. To get more you basically have to turn them in to a notebook.

Tablets have alittle more to offer, but I don't think the ceiling is to far away for them, and again to get much more out of them you have to turn them in to a notebook.

The desktop won't be as popular as it has in the past, but I think its reached its stabilizing point. Everyone that's bought a desktop in the last 4 years has had the option of a DTR notebook.

As far as "post PC" thats just a buzz word and doesn't mean jack.

RE: Mr. Ozzie has been blinded by razzle dazzle
By mcnabney on 3/8/2012 2:31:05 PM , Rating: 1

When you think of personal transportation what do you think of, your car or the road? Microsoft's virtual monopoly in the OS will continue, but the future and the mindset is in the applications.

I believe that Win8 will completely fail because application developers don't want to give MS a chunk of every transaction (Metro apps all go through MS, for nice big fee). See: EA shifting away from Steam to their own front-end, Origin.

By retrospooty on 3/8/2012 2:54:13 PM , Rating: 2
" Microsoft's virtual monopoly in the OS will continue, but the future and the mindset is in the applications."

Yes, and in the highly profitable enterprise sector, the application developers, and any and all other IT dept decision makers mindsets are all MS windows client/server. Its WAY to big to move. Like I said, it wouldnt be impossible , but to get to that goal, someone has to start. No-one has. Apple, Google as great as their toys are, they are still just toys.

Call me when that new enterprise level accounting software comes out on an iPhone, or tell me when that shop floor management database app works on an Android phone. Call me when large call centers can run thier CRM software on a tablet. Its not happening any time soon.

RE: Mr. Ozzie has been blinded by razzle dazzle
By Taft12 on 3/8/12, Rating: -1
By retrospooty on 3/9/2012 10:43:03 AM , Rating: 2
And the servers the databases live on are???
Run in browsers on your tablet? Or just run in browsers on PC's

I have yet to see any advanced web based app that works well on any tablet or phone OS. I am sure some of the more simple ones work, but not at all a repleacement.

By hiscross on 3/8/2012 3:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
"Microsoft's virtual monopoly in the OS will continue"

Hum ios and andriod are OS. Microsoft probably will always "own" the desktop, like IBM "owns" the mainframe.

By Manch on 3/8/2012 6:43:01 PM , Rating: 2
I think of both. Bc one usually dictated the other. As far as those apps go, how is that any different than apples model? Ms will be providing a unified OS from the desktop to the phone. That's pretty compelling all by itself. Then there's the current compatibility with 3rd party software that cant he beat.

By SoCalBoomer on 3/9/2012 2:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
I believe that iOS will completely fail because application developers don't want to give Apple a chunk of every transaction (iOS apps all go through Apple, for nice big fee). See: EA shifting away from Steam to their own front-end, Origin.

Strangely, swapping this over to "the other side" and this statement has been being made for quite a while and yet there are more and more iOS apps being created all the time . . .

By kingmotley on 3/9/2012 10:32:08 AM , Rating: 3
A very accurate analysis of the marketplace. Mobile/Tablets are currently overhyped, and the doom of the PC is vastly exaggerated. Mobiles/tablets aren't likely to replace PCs any time in the future for many of the reasons you just mentioned. Add in that they will always be more expensive because they have to worry more about weight, heat, and battery run-time, and you start to see it's just not possible with today's technology.

Then you have a new bunch of programmers who all want to use the latest and greatest languages that are terrible performance wise, and you see a collision course. Things aren't going to start demanding less for the same amount of work (and haven't for a long time). It's just going to continue to get worse, which really puts a damper on the whole mobile technology.

By rburnham on 3/12/2012 9:11:45 AM , Rating: 2
That seems like a reasonable analysis. The PC is still a PC, but bit by bit new things are being added to it. With Windows 8, touch is becoming more of a focus, but the PC will still do everything it always did. Tablets are a nice secondary solution, but definitely not a replacement for a regular computer.

The biggest change I have seen is how functional the average laptop has become. A lot of people I know use them as desktop replacements. Some do because they just don't need the power and flexibility of a desktop, and they prefer the portability. Others I know use laptops with big screens and powerful hardware as full-fledged gaming systems.

I really like how many options we have for computing these days. Technology has given us amazing things. The PC is not dead, it's just made some new friends.

By greenep on 3/8/2012 1:58:06 PM , Rating: 2
In some ways I think we've missed the point. PC or tablet, we'd like to do the same on each. We want a tablet for mobility when a lot of keyboarding/mouse interaction isn't necessary. We want a PC when simple finger gestures aren't enough. Yes, the horsepower of the devices is (for now) different. I think Moore's law will hold and we'll see many many tablets capable of a lot of what PC's currently do. In that case, we'll just have a tablet.

So, now Windows 8 is on it's way trying to balance the best of both worlds. Will it be successful? No one..not one..can say for certain.

But what they're obviously trying to accomplish is to dock your tablet when you're at home. Use your external monstrous monitor. Use your bluetooth keyboard. Use your mouse.Maybe even have full fledged applications stored on an external drive to launch and use just as you do today on a desktop/laptop.'re now sitting at a tablet that thinks it's a PC.

Undock whola (maybe it won't actually say that) It's Metro interface, touch friendly of course, comes up and you're using a tablet.

As long as Microsoft is able to woo developers over to it's "app store" (don't sue me Apple) then they really have a good chance at gaining some ground here.

You'll have your mobile apps for..errr when your mobile. Then you'll have full fledged applications when you dock.

Does it really matter if we're calling it a PC or Tablet at this point? No, not really...

By Makaveli on 3/8/2012 2:45:08 PM , Rating: 3
"Yes, the horsepower of the devices is (for now) different. I think Moore's law will hold and we'll see many many tablets capable of a lot of what PC's currently do. In that case, we'll just have a tablet."

I disagree with this. yes Moore's law will continue to have smaller transistors and smaller cpu's in time but the space you have to work with doesn't change. You will still always be able to cram more into a desktop system than a mobile device that is running off a battery!

Until they have batteries out that a single charge may last you a weeks its not even in the same league. If you actually talk to anyone that does serious work on a PC/MAC they will laugh at you saying you can do the same thing on a tablet.

Too many people are getting caught up in this marketing bs that the mass market is just eating up. Do we really want half of those clowns in the mac store that couldn't use a computer to save their owns lives to be directing where things are going?

By greenep on 3/8/2012 3:09:25 PM , Rating: 2
I do not disagree with you about desktops being faster than tablets. However, most users completely under utilize their current processors. My current job requires me to do assessments for current environment utilizations. In doing so, I continually see that processors peak averages hover around 8%...yes 8%.

Sure, when assessing an infrastructure that has AutoCad or Photoshop or some other high end processing application, I see memory, disk io, and processor utilization at higher levels. They, as you're suggesting, wouldn't be a good fit for tablets. However, a tablet would suit many business users.

The battery issue. Yes, is still an issue. However, if you have mobile apps as the iPad does for light work that you use when you're mobile...then use the "full blown" apps when the tablet is're good to go.

By Makaveli on 3/8/2012 3:51:09 PM , Rating: 2
Good post and I agree for light use its fine. Heck I have an HP touchpad sitting in front of me right now next to my desktop PC. And for consumers yes they can do their general browsing and youtubing on a tablet no problem. I myself however fall into that power user bracket, where i'm converting video, creating large excel spreadsheets, working on SQL database etc. So my needs aren't the same as the kid in the apple store buying the new Ipad 3 because its newer than his I pad 2.

And i've been building desktop computers since I was say about 15 (31 now) so I have multiple devices and use them according to their abilities.

Those that think these devices will drown out pc's are just thinking about the consumer market. Where consumers are fickle they will pick up and drop the next item when its hot. And half of them don't really care anything about the actual devices they just want something to get on youtube and check email.

Let also look at the structure of a business. Who is really gonna be using a tablet. It will only be the higher ups and just for checking emails they still won't be doing real work on them. The receptions,grunt workers will have real pc's not tablets.

By x10Unit1 on 3/8/2012 4:29:30 PM , Rating: 2
You are right, tablets might just take over the consumer market. Which to be honest, I am fine with. If all it is being used for is to quickly and easily consume content like youtube, music, games, etc. a tablet should be more than enough.

I don't think it was or is assumed that tablets are currently meant to replace business or researcher PCs.

In terms of business using real "PCs", I am honestly curious to know about the current state of thin clients in businesses today. Because that is where I think business PCs are going to go for most "grunt" workers. The shift to cloud/web based applications like microsoft office is going to only help businesses migrate to that new platform.

By Makaveli on 3/8/2012 7:03:17 PM , Rating: 2
I use to work for a company that deployed half of the building on thin clients. This company's parent company is SHAW which is a major ISP and we were sitting on their backbone with fibre in the building aswell. And you know what happend when the network went down. Everyone on a thin client was SOL and couldn't do any work. Those of us in the IT department simply rebooted our machine and booted off our Hard drive images.

By TakinYourPoints on 3/8/2012 7:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
Very good post.

A lot of people on all sides have a misconception in that they equate "post-PC" with "NO PC". That is completely untrue, all it means is that the PC is not necessarily the digital center anymore. Now there are lots of other capable devices (smartphones, tablets, readers) that are capable of media consumption, light usage (email/web/games), and some content creation, things that were exclusive to desktop PCs for decades.

None of these things are going away on the PC, the only thing different is that there are a lot more devices to compliment and augment a traditional desktop computer, that's all.

Oh, and it is a hugely profitable market with a ceiling that is still very far away. That is something that every hardware and software company is very very aware of right now.

By TakinYourPoints on 3/8/2012 7:45:47 PM , Rating: 3
To be clear, the only PC device that is in any danger is the netbook, but that was always a poor idea since they were basically just bad notebooks.

Your standard PCs and laptops are not going away anytime soon. All post-PC means is that there is an explosion in mobile devices that are meant to compliment the PC and pull data from servers, that is it.

By greenep on 3/9/2012 9:45:26 AM , Rating: 3
Agreed. The netbook was a pitiful idea.

I don't know why such an issue is being raised that we're "in the post-pc era" long as there is hardware to manufacture (I assume that's till we can figure out the correct summon spell to get internet delivered directly to our eyeballs)there will always be a content delivery device. Sure, private clouds will become more prevalent to allow the computation to be done on the back end. But that doesn't suggest that hardware manufacturers are out of luck.IMHO If anything, it'll cause tremendous sales to be had.

No where near post pc world!
By macca007 on 3/9/2012 12:56:12 AM , Rating: 3
I have most of these gadgets,ipods,ipads,Hp laptop,kindle,PS3,mobile phones etc etc
Somehow I always find myself going back to the desktop,The others are pure novelty. If I want any work done it's the pc, If I need to make a family photo for a relative it's the pc, If it's a game I want to play PC will get first priority as it always offers the best experience(yes not including crappy console ports).
Microsoft should spend some time and money on the gaming front on pc besides xbox, PC gaming is on the rise not on the decline!
As for their next OS,Want to make something different then learn from the old Commodore Amiga, OS on chip. Forget needing SSD's or optimized code, Almost instant on was around 20 years ago!

By TakinYourPoints on 3/9/2012 3:41:15 AM , Rating: 2
Your point about the Amiga is pretty awesome. Old computers from Commodore and Apple had the OS embedded in the hardware. Moving over to running an operating system from a floppy disk or hard drive on generic PC hardware then had an advantage since features and major upgrades could easily be made to the operating system without swapping out hardware.

Now that flash memory seems to be becoming the norm, taking the approach of an "embedded" OS is making sense again like we see on the iPad. Apply that same logic to Windows and OS X and we're getting there. Hell, it is happening with Macbook Airs now, it boots up in seconds. Move the OS off of the SSD and onto something that can be accessed even faster by having an OS on chip, you have instant boot with a full desktop operating system (just like 20 years ago ;) ).

Yes, we are
By Argon18 on 3/9/2012 4:01:39 PM , Rating: 1
We are indeed in a post peecee world. Microsoft's desktop market share is declining, Apple's is rising, and Linux (Android) and iOS dominate the handheld space. There was a time when many consumer facing web sites ONLY work on Internet Explorer on a Microsoft Windows PC. Those days are long gone. Business has realized that they need to create content that is accessible just the same from Windows, Apple, Linux, or whatever.

Certain markets will of course be dominated by a specific OS, business document creators use Windows, creative content creators use Mac OS, software developers love Linux, etc.

But the fact remains that content must now be created with a broad spectrum of operating systems and devices in mind, on the consumer end. The consumer is no longer locked into the Microsoft ecosystem, and the business that doesn't realize this will fail. If a consumer cannot access their bank's web site from their iPad, what are they going to do? Throw out their iPad? Of course not. They're going to switch banks.

What does this all mean? Not what you think. Microsoft PC's are not going away any time soon. What this means, is a win-win situation for everyone. It means a level playing field, with open standards. It means content can be consumed on your CHOICE of platform; as a consumer, you aren't locked in to one particular OS or Browser vendor. This is one of those rare times when the consumer forces the hand of big business, and wins. It's a good thing!

RE: Yes, we are
By stephenbrooks on 3/10/2012 12:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
The problem right now is that the "level playing field, with open standards" part of your plan is missing. Some platforms go out of their way to be incompatible and difficult to port from other platforms.

RE: Yes, we are
By Argon18 on 3/11/2012 11:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
If by "some platforms" you mean Microsoft, then yes, I agree. All unix's, including Linux, are POSIX compliant these days. That means its a snap to port a piece of software from one to the other, usually requiring little more than a re-compile. Microsoft is not compatible with anything, except for itself. It's the only one that stands out amongst all modern OS's, as going out of its way to be incompatible with the world. This holds true even for their server products; Exchange is not a standards compliant mail server - it implements broken proprietary Microsoft versions of SMTP and IMAP, not the published standards. Integrating it with standards-compliant systems is a nightmare.

post-PC world == hype
By chromal on 3/8/2012 3:21:43 PM , Rating: 4
Mobile devices will always be inferior to fixed-location traditional computing because of power, size, cooling, and weight constraints. They deserve praise for increasing accessibility to networking and computing, and, for many types of users, will be more than adequate. But to a subset of users, I guess I'll call these 'power users' for lack of a better term, mobile devices will always be 'toys' relative to high end desktop computers.

By shin0bi272 on 3/8/2012 4:26:28 PM , Rating: 4
Isnt this the same thing they said when the netbooks came out? Then the smartphone... now the tablet. Sure you can do some stuff on a tablet but there will always be a need for a desktop even if it changes design you will always need something with a detached control device like a keyboard or mouse becuase you can only do so much with tapping on a screen with your thumbs.

Nothing new here
By KOOLTIME on 3/8/2012 1:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
Its more for touch screen systems, where certain traditional functions are missing to replace the mouse based system.

The annoying pop-up app launch screen is un-needed in a traditional mouse system, as its just that an annoying pop-up nothing more. Desktop PC can already single click a desktop icon to launch apps, this added app launcher is just an extra pop-up nothing more. More for mouse-less systems that dont have screen real-estate like a desktop does.

Post-desktop world
By DrApop on 3/9/2012 10:19:59 AM , Rating: 2
It may still be several years away but I think the value of an OS is slowly diminishing. As we begin to transition to more web apps there may be less of a need for a monster sized OS. It will be more of just an interface rather than the bulk that it is now.

Some will still want the big hulking, fastest processor, fastest video card, 800W power supply, 16 gigs ram, and 3 tb harddisk with the heavy duty OS. But I think most would be happy with a smaller scaled OS, use internet apps, and play angry birds.

Not to mention that there are a number of apps for video and content creation available on the net (albeit limited in strength). But for the vast number of users...including most business users, something like google apps or Zoho apps would work fine....and you don't need a bloated behemoth of an OS to run it...and it runs on all OS's that allow internet access.

And as far as I am concerned...the metro UI looks like crap and I don't like it. But that is just me.

By TSS on 3/9/2012 12:16:20 PM , Rating: 2
These "post-pc era" predictions are becomming as numerous now as doom and end of the earth predictions. There about as accurate, too.

Eventually yes at some point in the future, we will move beyond the PC. But it will not be because of some gadgetry. It'll be because we've found something that lets us do the same things we can with a PC, or more, at equal or less effort or equal/less cost. At no point will a PC be replaced by something that's more cumbersome to work with, like a tablet, smartphone, console controller or whathaveyou.

My guess? When transistor technology approaches 12nm and below, basically the end of the road for moore's law as far as CPU's and such go. If we want to advance beyond that, we have to think in whole new ways of computing. Those new ways might also involve new control mechanisms.

fundemental changes don't come easy.

By p05esto on 3/11/2012 9:52:20 AM , Rating: 2
Wrong. This world we live in is more of a computer world than ever before. There are now a lot of "other" devices that do some tasks and connect to the internet, most people have a few devices (phone, tablet, laptop, xbox, smart tv, regular pc). I have all of those and more....

I could live without every one of those devices except the regular PC. As I sit here in my home office in quiet from the kids and household noise I work and program. I do my video editing, web development, open tons of apps and windows on my 27" monitor, play games in HD glory with fast CPU and GPU....

All the other devices are fun, they allow me to casually consume content, I can check email from anywhere, etc. But to do anything actually productive I need a regular keyboard, mouse and large monitor. I don't see this changing for another 10yrs and even then we'll have to invent something better we don't know about yet...because tablets are NOT it. Heck, I can't even be as productive on a ultra powerful laptop.

Nothing new here
By KOOLTIME on 3/8/2012 12:46:37 PM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 is not currently any good for traditional desktop PC system currently. That phone / tablet app main screen is nothing more then an annoying pop-up driven system to get in the way of something PC-s already do and have access to.

Its more for touch screen systems, where certain traditional functions are missing to replace the mouse based system.

The annoying pop-up app launch screen is un-needed in a traditional mouse system, as its just that an annoying pop-up nothing more.

Nothing new here
By KOOLTIME on 3/8/2012 1:10:27 PM , Rating: 1
Windows 8 is not currently any good for traditional desktop PC system currently. That phone / tablet app main screen is nothing more then an annoying pop-up driven system to get in the way of something PC-s already do and have access to.

Its more for touch screen systems, where certain traditional functions are missing to replace the mouse based system.

The annoying pop-up app launch screen is un-needed in a traditional mouse system, as its just that an annoying pop-up nothing more.

Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By Tony Swash on 3/8/12, Rating: -1
By Iaiken on 3/8/2012 12:24:57 PM , Rating: 2
I had the chance to play with a AMD Windows 8 device that was being prototyped for Samsung. I think it is basically the poster-child for the post PC world and some of the ideas we might see soon.

17" tablet form factor (1920x1200 with multi-touch)
AMD x64 quad core fusion chip of some sort
2GB Ram
Wireless N

The device could be mounted on an adjustable stand and be used like a monitor and could be paired with Bluetooth mouse/kb. The stand also doubled as an induction charger. It also responded to touch at all times. When you were done at your desk, you could just lift it off it's stand and take it with you.

The thing that I liked most was that I could write apps right there on the device itself, I could even tweak the look of the app in metro while it was running.

By Reclaimer77 on 3/8/2012 12:26:59 PM , Rating: 2
The only value that a desktop of 2008 has over a new iPad is the size of the screen and a larger hard drive.

Tony how can you buy into such a purposefully idealized half-truth statement? Is that really the ONLY value one can think of that a desktop has over an iPad?

The "post-PC" era is a myth, a fabrication. What we see is not the PC market-share shrinking, but merely the mobile device space growing. People understand that they must still be productive, and tablets fall woefully short in that department.

I don't know Horace Dediu, but knowing you favor him, I'm inclined to think he's the same sort of sensationalized and highly biased pro-iDevice blogger you typically reference here. Based strictly on his homepage alone, it seems he exclusively focuses on Apple products and nothing else.

But strictly based on the premise of his argument, he's comparing apples to oranges. And 4 year old oranges at that.

By StevoLincolnite on 3/8/2012 12:35:37 PM , Rating: 2
But strictly based on the premise of his argument, he's comparing apples to oranges. And 4 year old oranges at that.

I love how he compares an iPad against 4-5 year old PC's and that they are closing in on Intel and AMD in terms of performance.

It's impossible for a low-powered ARM processor to match a 100w+ TDP desktop processor.
The Desktop x86 chips are larger, more complex, newer technologies, massive amounts of bandwidth, lower fabrication processes with larger TDP and transistor budgets to squeeze out extra performance.

Arm chips would need to pull a massive turn around in terms of IPC to out-gun the latest and greatest of x86 processors.

Hell. Medfield is faster than most Arm chips and that's based on the Atom core if I remember rightly. And we all know how woeful Intel Atom is, right?

I always call Shenanigans when people proclaim that Arm will displace x86 in the performance stakes, I doubt that will change any time in the near future.

By Uncle on 3/8/2012 12:57:28 PM , Rating: 3
The only people that would like to see the pc disappear is the RIAA/MPAA. If we all owned the tablets, no reason for torrents. No storage capacity.:)

By NellyFromMA on 3/8/2012 12:50:54 PM , Rating: 2
How is it the post-PC era? Granted, the era of the PC dominating consumer media and socializing needs is certainly happening, but businesses aren't going to acheive their needs any time in the next decade by a removal of ALL PCs (not even servers, just PCs); and isn't that what post-PC hype is all about? leaving the PC behind forever?

There's no doubt that PC won't be the focal point of the common consumer who only needs basic internet functionality. As to whether it won't retain its status as the super-powerful general purpose enthusiast tool or the practical business solution for end-users doing productivity related work, I think things would have to go Google's way for at least 5 years before it was evident than in 3-5 more we would then LIKELY be in the post-PC era, should such a thing truly be inevitable.

Then again, if you dock your tablet and use a keyboard and mouse, I have to ask....


Just curious...

By NellyFromMA on 3/8/2012 12:52:08 PM , Rating: 2
Granted, the era of the PC dominating consumer media and socializing needs is certainly happening, but businesses aren't going to acheive their needs any time in the next decade by a removal of ALL PCs (not even servers, just PCs); and isn't that what post-PC hype is all about? leaving the PC behind forever?

I meant: 'Granted, the era of PCs dominating consumer media and socializing needs is certainly over'

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By palladium on 3/8/2012 1:17:43 PM , Rating: 2
I build my core i7 920 and gtx280 PC in Nov/Dec 2008. Are you saying the A5X and the GPU in the new iPad is faster than these?

By dubldwn on 3/8/2012 2:04:12 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I was thinking.
The only value that a desktop of 2008 has over a new iPad is the size of the screen and a larger hard drive.

What a bunch of horsesh!t. I can't believe that MS is even attempting to build some hybrid system like this. If they're interested in some of that iPad money they should have released a competing toy months ago with their phone OS.

By Makaveli on 3/8/2012 4:18:20 PM , Rating: 2
You are asking two questions and you already know the answer so its kinda pointless.

There is nothing in the ipad more powerful than your desktop machine. The only thing would be its res if you are one of those on a 1080p display.

Neither the gpu or the cpu would be a match.

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By JasonMick on 3/8/2012 4:31:41 PM , Rating: 4
The only value that a desktop of 2008 has over a new iPad is the size of the screen and a larger hard drive.

To be frank, Tony, that analysis is bullcrap.

You can not use Microsoft Office on an iPad. Even if a version arrives, it will doubtless be subtly gimped/impaired vs. its desktop brethren.

You can not write computer code easily on the iPad.

You can not use Photoshop (this one hits close to home for Mac users like yourself, right?) on the iPad.

You can not run the best enthusiast 3D games on your iPad (Dead Space Mobile, Infinity Blade, and Fruit Ninja are good, but they're no Dead Space 2/Crysis/Metro 2033).

You can not write long emails on your iPad easily. Short ones sure, but past a short one, typing becomes a massive PITA on the iPad or any tablet.

You can not run database or most enterprise software on an iPad.

You can not design multi-compatible webpages on the iPad.

Again, there is so much more value to a PC, it is an astounding display of ignorance for an analyst to make such a comment. Pure bullcrap.

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By Tony Swash on 3/8/12, Rating: -1
RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By x10Unit1 on 3/8/2012 6:32:51 PM , Rating: 2
Way to miss the point, Tony. But it gives you the chance to justify your iOS purchase to everyone. Not that anyone cares, especially here. I thought you would have got that point by now.

Since you are an iPad expert, please provide us the iPad apps that do exactly what Jason listed above.

You have the opportunity to list everything the iPad does that a laptop cannot or easily do. Lets see that list.

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By Makaveli on 3/8/2012 7:00:31 PM , Rating: 3
I want to see this list of what I can't do on my Ultracompact Sony Vaio Z that a tablet can do better.

Please do tell!

By Tony Swash on 3/9/2012 10:01:22 AM , Rating: 1
I want to see this list of what I can't do on my Ultracompact Sony Vaio Z that a tablet can do better

I am not going to do a comprehensive list but surely it is not surprising that, just like with the birth of the PC, new uses are developed as result of a new type of device, uses that were not possible or even foreseen on the old type of device. To give a trivial example from my own recent experience, yesterday I held my iPad up so that it showed an exact chart of the night sky that was behind it (which my app does automatically - no settings required) and identified a bright star I could see. This sort of powerful location and orientation based usage is typical of what tablets are very good at as compared to say a laptop, augmented reality is becoming a very powerful arena of mobile development and usage. By the way I also get instant on and get 10+ hours of continuous battery life - what do you get on your Vaio?

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By SlyNine on 3/11/2012 6:37:43 PM , Rating: 2
Give me one thing a Ipad can do with software, that a PC cannot do. One thing, just one besides being more portable.

By SlyNine on 3/11/2012 6:42:02 PM , Rating: 2
And that star chart thing, it could be done on any notebook as well.

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By JasonMick on 3/8/2012 6:34:59 PM , Rating: 2
So let's be clear here, Tony, you're predicting that people won't use PCs in the future and will do all their work on a tablet?

By Scrogneugneu on 3/8/2012 10:14:58 PM , Rating: 1
I would predict that as well.

Most probably a tablet using a workstation (including bigger screen + keyboard + mouse), but I see no need for those big, clunky physical boxes now that we have a rapidly evolving, smaller form-factor that can already accomplish a lot of work by itself.

Moreover, everybody talks about the cloud. That's really just the big swing back to server-heavy computing, like a long time ago with thin clients and terminals. If all the major work is done on the server, and the client only does a limited amount of work, why not use a small, portable device instead of a big box? Where's the benefit of using the box, especially since using web services, you're not even locked into Windows anymore? Why do you think Windows 8 is trying to blend into the tablet world so much? If you add in a larger screen and a keyboard/mouse, is the computing power provided by a tablet good enough? What about next year? What about in 2 years? In 5 years?

Now I'm not saying the switch is happening tomorrow. But 10 years from now? I'm not so sure the desktop PC will still be everywhere. 10 years ago, the iPod was starting. Intel was still running on Pentium3, and was starting on the first P4. We had between 128 and 512 MB of RAM. Back then, could you believe that 10 years later, we'd all have a phone looking like that iPod that would actually pack more punch than the best desktop PC we had?

By SlyNine on 3/11/2012 6:40:54 PM , Rating: 2
If people wan't to give up control of their data to a cloud then it will be a sad sad day for me.

But I doubt that will happen, and by the time you've turned your tablet in to a PC, you could have just built a PC.

By Tony Swash on 3/9/2012 9:50:34 AM , Rating: 1
So let's be clear here, Tony, you're predicting that people won't use PCs in the future and will do all their work on a tablet?

No. I do think that the PC will become just another device, used a lot by a few and hardly at all by the majority of people. It will no longer be the central pivot of the computing world and will no longer be that important. In five years most work and almost all play will not be on a PC.

By palladium on 3/8/2012 11:43:18 PM , Rating: 3
Someone here in DT once posted some very wise words, which goes along the lines of this, "Apple makes great toys. If they suddenly die tomorrow, people would just move on. If MS suddenly dies tomorrow, the whole world would grind to a hault, since almost all of the corporate world relies on MS software for their day to day productivity". Until your iOS devices can take over the role of the arrays of server deployed (with Windows Server 2003/2008/2008R2) and their respective clients (mostly running XP/Vista/7), I don't see how the statement in you final paragraph can be true.

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By x10Unit1 on 3/8/2012 6:09:12 PM , Rating: 2

I know we all love to get on the Tony bashing train, myself included, but to be fair I think this was more of a spec comparison. Looking at the actual article it looks to be comments about a spec comparison sheet.

If it was implied that the iPad and a 4 year old MAC has about the same specs AND functionality, I must have missed it. But you are right if that what was being implied, the guy is an idiot.

For content creators such as yourself the PC isn't going away for you anytime in the near future. However, they might be for most content consumers though.

By x10Unit1 on 3/8/2012 6:20:50 PM , Rating: 2
This is what I get for taking too long to hit the Post Comment button.

Jason, please forgive me as I am apparently having a foot in mouth moment.

By Tony Swash on 3/9/2012 9:36:00 AM , Rating: 1
I didn't want to reply to Jason because such discussion is just so tedious, it's a bit like people looking out of a window at heavy rain falling having a discussion about why rain is unlikely.

It seems fairly obvious to me that the 50 million people who bought the iPad so far and the 100 million plus who will buy an iPad in the next year or so are finding them pretty attractive and useful. It also seems obvious that for many people an iPad is plenty computing power enough. It is also obvious that the iPad does stuff that laptops and desktops don't, like getting 10 hour battery life routinely, like being able to hold it up to the night sky so it can identify all the stars I am looking at, like using it to navigate in real time a route through some obscure back country roads, just a few things I have used mine for in the last two days, but one could go on and on with usage scenarios that are unique to or much easier on the iPad/tablet form factor.

Nobody is saying that the PC will disappear it just that it will quickly lose it's central place in the world of personal computing devices and become just another computing device that most people might use occasionally, quite a few never and a very few quite a lot. Even Microsoft can see this - it's not a controversial perspective anymore. Its just what is obviously happening.

Lets turn to Jason's list.

Microsoft Office. Probably coming to the iPad (if Microsoft have any sense) but it is trivial and easy to open and edit Word, Excel and Powerpoint files on an iPad right now, there are many very cheap solutions for doing this. Personally I gave up Word and Excel for Pages and Numbers and never have any problem sharing Office format files via my Mac or my iPad. Almost everyone hardly uses more than the basic features of the Office programs and as long as they can read and write Office files it's a big non-issue whether there is an actual Office suite or not.

Computer code. There are plenty of very good and varied text writing apps for the iPad of course but there is also iPad Apps like CodeToGo that support the following languages:

Ada (.adb)?Assembly (gcc - .s; nasm - .asm)?AWK (.awk)?Bash (.sh)?bc (.bc)?bf (.bf)?C (.c)?C99 Strict (.c)?C# (C Sharp - .cs)?C++ (.cpp)?C++0x (.cpp)?CLIPS (.cli)?Clojure (.clj)?COBOL (.cob)?COBOL 85 (.85.cob)?Common Lisp (.lisp)?D (.d)?Erlang (.hrl)?F# (.fs)?Factor (.factor)?Forth (.4th)?Fortran (.f)?Go (.go)?Groovy (.groovy)?Haskell (.hs)?Icon (.icn)?Intercal (.i)?Java (.java)?JavaScript (.js)?Lua (.lua)?Nemerle (.n)?Nice (.nice)?Nimrod (.nim)?Ocaml (.ml)?Oz (.oz)?Pascal (.pas)?Perl (Perl - .pl; Perl6 - (.php)?Pike (.pike)?Prolog (GNU -; SWI - (Python - .py, Python3 - (.r)?Ruby (.ruby)?Scala (.scala)?Scheme (.scm)?Smalltalk (.st)?SQL (SQLite - .sql)?Tcl (.tcl)?Unlambda (.unl)?Visual Basic .NET (.vb)

You can not use Photoshop. Yes you can as Adobe have released Photoshop Touch for the iPad. Also see the really excellent iPhoto for iPad that Apple released this week, plus very good apps like Snapseed . I use all three. I also noticed this week the launch of a specialist photographers using iPad magazine, a sign of the times.

You can not run the best enthusiast 3D games. True, for now, but the gap is closing fast and the term 'enthusiast' really means 'minority' in terms of the game market. iOS is the worlds largest game platform. Gaming on the iPad is very healthy and accelerating.

You can not write long emails on your iPad easily. Thats your personal limitation, many seem very capable of doing so and what's the average length of emails anyway? How many 'long' emails get written? If I have to write more than a few hundred words I just pair my iPad with my bluetooth keyboard - it seems a no brainer to me. I use the excellent wingstand

You can not run database or most enterprise software on an iPad. Yes you can. Try for example Filemaker Go which I use and which is pretty good. iOS fully supports Microsoft Exchange in the enterprise and all sorts of specialist enterprise and business apps are available and the number is growing all the time, check out http: //

You can not design multi-compatible webpages on the iPad. Almost true but there apps like Gusto which is a full-featured website development environment designed exclusively for the iPad, and there amny more web site design orientated apps. The only reason to still use a desktop PC for web site design is for testing purposes and as more people use mobile devices for accessing the web so the importance of testing on a PC declines. Already more people access the web from mobile devices than from PCs.

RE: Getting a perspective on the speed of change
By palladium on 3/9/2012 9:58:09 PM , Rating: 2
I have to disagree with a lot of what Tony said.

Computer code. Sure you can write your code on the iPad (but personally I'd prefer a keyboard for that), but what about things like compiling and debugging? Can the iPad do it? Probably. Can it do it fast enough? Probably not. When writing code, is it worth to sacrifice the performance penalty and the efficiency of a keyboard and multi-monitor setup for mobility and battery life? Definitely not.

Photoshop. Sure you can use it on an iPad, but is it good enough for professional work? Can you calibrate the screen on an iPad? Do you know what the colour space of the screen is? What about complex, 3D rendering, or manipulation of large files? Does the iPad have the hardware to do those things at an acceptable speed?

Games. No offence, but I think graphics on the PS3 far, far outclasses the iPad. Even the graphics on PS2 doesn't look too bad when compared to the games on iPad. Let alone dedicated desktop systems. Sure enthusiasts are minorities, but they typically spend the most money on games compared to your average joe. To say iOS is the worlds largest gaming platform is very arrogant - what about the consoles?

By stephenbrooks on 3/10/2012 12:30:53 PM , Rating: 2
Right now the iPad (any iOS device) can't compile or even interpret code because Apple forbid it.

Android could do, but then you'd find yourself adding a keyboard dock and then you'd have...... a Linux netbook. :)

By Cheesew1z69 on 3/10/2012 1:22:29 PM , Rating: 2
is very arrogant
You are responding to the biggest iTool on here....

By Tony Swash on 3/11/2012 7:57:43 AM , Rating: 2
We can debate this stuff for ever. For some people a tablet will never work, because of personal preferences or because of the specialist type of work they do. But that doesn't change the fact that for the vast bulk of the activities that the vast bulk of the consumers (and enterprises) do, the tablet is good enough and comes with some big attractive advantages over the PC.

Whether that statement is true will be shown by how things unfold over the next couple of years.

Picking up on a couple of points.

Photography and iPads. I watch Photoshop TV regularly and recently iPads and iPad techniques have begun to figure in quite a lot of the shows content. An indicator of a shift I feel.

On games: check this out

Not post PC any time soon
By Beenthere on 3/8/12, Rating: -1
"Mac OS X is like living in a farmhouse in the country with no locks, and Windows is living in a house with bars on the windows in the bad part of town." -- Charlie Miller

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