Is the PC Dying? Is It Already Dead?

TRG NetworkingNews, Tech Talk

In Albert’s Corner this month, a look at the reported demise of traditional desktop and notebook PCs.

A Google search on “Death of the PC” turns up a long list of conflicting opinions. Wired says the death of the PC “has not been greatly exaggerated,” Computerworld advises “pausing on the PC death march,” and Forbes asks, “Is it time to kiss your computer goodbye?”

So are desktop and notebook PCs going the way of the dodo?

Sales figures would indicate that they are. After all, IBM furloughed most of its U.S. hardware staff some 2-1/2 years ago, and sales trends for both desktops and notebook PCs show no signs of reversing a long slide.

The reasons are pretty clear: in the heyday of the PC, we couldn’t have imagined that a device the size of a deck of cards could contain the computing power of a desktop machine … in addition to letting us make phone calls, giving us driving directions and taking better photos than most digital cameras at the time. And, hey, it doubles as a flashlight and gives you the yardage on that tricky par-3.

Then came tablet computing and the screen real estate that let us start to get some real work done, and all with no wires so we could do that work anywhere. Small wonder fewer and fewer people are tethering themselves to a desktop or even using a notebook PC.

The other main ingredient in this stew of change is the impact of millennials and their computing habits on the workplace. Email? No thanks … I only look at texts. And if I can’t do it on my phone or tablet, it probably doesn’t need doing.

So where do we stand now? From my experience in visiting hundreds of businesses each year, the PC will remain down but not out. Mobile solutions like tablets are terrific for your salespeople who are on the road all day doing limited computing. But there are still some trade-offs, and the parts of your team who spend the vast majority of their time in front of a PC (accounting and HR, to name two) aren’t likely to have much interest in tablet computing. If you have to hook up your tablet to a larger monitor and a keyboard/mouse combination to compute comfortably, why not just have a PC in the first place? And for a variety of reasons, many firms are not yet comfortable with cloud computing and thus stay married to the traditional desktop/server configuration.

So while I wouldn’t run out and buy stock in Lenovo, I don’t think the PC is going the way of the buggy whip … not just yet, anyway.

Albert Blaize is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for TRG Networking. Contact him at albert@trgnetworking.com.

TRG NetworkingIs the PC Dying? Is It Already Dead?