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Gates Claims PC Era Not Over Yet 307

An anonymous reader writes "Bill Gates has collaborated to pen a response to the Wall Street Journal's recent claim that we are at the end of the PC era. From the article: 'The reality is a little different. The truth is that the model which has fueled the incredible popularity and affordability of the PC will continue to drive innovation and choice in the burgeoning area of personal devices such as cell phones, digital players and mobile PCs. As such, the PC is becoming more important and popular as a key enabler for these new digital scenarios in every corner of the world, from Indianapolis to Istanbul. If anything, it is, to paraphrase Churchill, perhaps the end of the beginning: the end of the first phase in the life of a young and evolving technology that is just now becoming as ubiquitous as the TV or the automobile.'"
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Gates Claims PC Era Not Over Yet

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  • Ubiquitous? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cokane ( 16304 ) on Tuesday May 16, 2006 @11:47PM (#15348104) Homepage

    I agree with his assessment that this is a new beginning in ubiquity.

    Unfortunately, the comparison is a buzzkill. I have never really seen automobiles nor televisions as "Ubiquitous". This leads me to doubt Gates' actual understanding of the ramifications (an unleashed possibility) of this phenomenon. This will ultimately be the downfall of his "Windows everywhere" vision.

    The miniaturization is effectively going to put the PC in your pocket [figuratively]. Moreover, rather than having a "PC at home" I see us having connected devices that send and receive information from a remote server (or servers), and provide us with the mobility without sacrificing the connectivity.

    Oh yeah: First post.
  • Re:Ubiquitous? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by cokane ( 16304 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:19AM (#15348240) Homepage
    I do live in the US (Cincinnati specifically), but I don't own (or watch) TV because it is generally pretty awful. I have a [dying] automobile as well, but can get around just fine without it. The car simply adds extra mobility and flexibility to my life. A lot of people own both of these things (and in the US it may seem like everyone does), but there are many without them. Yeah, they are familiar with the existence, but they are not building blocks of life.

    Shoes are Ubiquitous.
    Clocks are Ubiquitous.

    Google is nearly Ubiquitous, but only within the realm of computer use.
  • by EmbeddedJanitor ( 597831 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:20AM (#15348246)
    The PC is just that, it is a hub for the devices to hang off for interfacing, connectivity etc. As devices become more capable, the need for a hub falls away.

    For example, let's look at internet radio. First off you played it on your PC, then came a range of products that give you remote playing of streams via a PC - but still needed a PC; now a Nokia 770, Palm TX or similar or even a dedicated internet radio player can play internet radio without a PC in the loop.

    I need a PC to download stuff from the internet onto an ipod. If the ipod got smart enough (which it probably will soon, or it will lose out to competing products), I'll be able to download podcasts etc directly from a Wifi connection with no PC involved.

    As a hub, the PC will surely die just like the need for a ethernet switch falls off as Wifi takes over. Indeed, we're already seeing places where ADSL modem/router with integrated Wifi AP results in completely cable-free installations.

  • by Branka96 ( 628759 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @12:36AM (#15348305)
    The idea about making the computer the hub for digital cameras or digital music didn't originate with Apple. Micorosoft used the concept when introducing Windows Me.
    Take a look at CNN Tech [] from September 2000, where the representative from Microsoft states that "Microsoft wants to make the PC act as a hub for other kinds of computing activities".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @01:42AM (#15348521)
    That's why there is so much effort to get everyone using Windows DRM for future media. Bill wants all your home appliances to be connected to your Windows PC, and only a Windows PC will do. In the current legal climate where we have legally enforced vendor lock-in over file formats this may be quite easy to do.

          Windows is on most PCs.

          People who want to sell devices that work with PCs will target Windows users.

          Windows users will most likely be using the bundled media player. (ITunes is an interesting exception here, possibly a spanner in the works for Microsoft).

          Bill makes it easier, even encourages, device makers to work _only_ with the proprietry Windows protocols and formats. He got his wrists slapped for this recently by the antitrust courts - too little too late of course.

          It is now illegal to reverse engineer those protocols for compatibility and make competing devices.

    It's a pity, as Windows and its software is not even that good. It's often been shown to be pretty poor and there's a lot more innovative stuff out there - but people have ditched better working systems so they can be compatible with Windows.

    If you think Microsoft are uninovative now, imagine a world where they don't feel they have to compete because they effectively have a legally mandated monopoly over the media format that everone uses.
  • by grammar fascist ( 239789 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @04:54AM (#15349172) Homepage
    Vista may well mark the end of the Windows era.

    Your Linux fanboism is showing. Might want to hike up those pants.

    Microsoft isn't going anywhere, even if an operating system happens to bomb. But it won't, because it'll come preinstalled on every new PC beginning with the first that's produced on Armageddon.
  • by acomj ( 20611 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @07:35AM (#15349611) Homepage
    I was moded as flamebait.. Go figure..

    But I saw a demo while at IBM by Bill Joy of Sun fame, it was jini and how devices could comunicate and be aware of what they're connected to and provide the correct functionality (you hook up a camera to a printer the camera can print, hook camera up to hard drive, camera can off load pictures).
    That way 1999.

    We have a little of that today so we are edging closer.
    see bill joys speach.. ream_id=186 []

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @08:16AM (#15349774)
    The Desktop PC is dying, the server is growing and the laptop rules them all.

    I sit here writing on a dodgy ole laptop, but remoted to a 3ghz XP Pro (server/ workstation)

    My XP system gives me the grunt when I need it gives me a central server (and handles another 2 users remotely).
    Another Linux box runs a webserver and lets me play with it when I am in the mood.

    it started with a wireless keyboard and mouse and has moved to using my laptop for everything. quite simply working remotely works for everything except when i need to load or burn a disk.

    I placed an order yesterday for a new and fairly remarkable laptop. remarkable because its cheap around £400 and should run osx86 10.4.4 perfectly. It will also connect to my servers in a similar manner to my xp running laptop.

    So now I can have cheap hardware and a good operating system useable anywhere and keep windows compatability when i need it.

    A wireless laptop ideally widescreen is perfect for me. Looking at my desk I am wondering why I keep it. it holds 2 monsterous CRT's barely turn them on these days.

    realistically a smallish cupboard is all i need to house my PC needs. a Smallish elegant laptop is all that is needed with a few anonymous and hidden boxen for storage mainly.

    The only thing my new laptop doesnt have is a dvd burner
    but i can live with that.

    you know now you can get vmware for free, and thats my next avenue for exploration have a box hosting what i want to run and remote in.

    The only thing i am really missing is an easy to set up remote linux desktop with sound. Give me that and the windows habit will be severely curtailed in my household at least.

    PC's are not at an end of life yet but perhaps the desktop PC is getting there and osx86 is bringing a revolution to the pc mass market. Linux could do the same but isn't quite there yet.

    In work we run cytrix which means the vast majority of workstations are just over powered terminals.

    There could be an end to windows or a vastly reduced share in the market place in sight. Vista is a failure already because while security might sell it, Drm will cripple it.

  • by blackest_k ( 761565 ) on Wednesday May 17, 2006 @09:25AM (#15350146) Homepage Journal
    There are a few things that have changed over the years and I think that's why the end of the PC is being heralded.

    The key things are wireless networking, remote desktop access, osx86, linux and VMware.

    And the thing which is bringing windows downfall security and DRM.

    firstly let me start by saying how I am writing this. Remotely from a dodgy ole laptop to a 3Ghz XP Pro server (which supports 3 concurrent users).

    My laptop provides a mouse screen and keyboard which i can physically use anywhere on my LAN The XP Server gives the grunt that this laptop hasn't got for cpu intensive tasks. without me having to sit near the thing.

    I enjoy that freedom i resent having to put a cd or dvd in the server (usually to burn something).

    now i also have a linux box also accessed remotely which runs my little webserver and lets me explore linux as an alternative (right now I'm primarily a windows user).

    I have 2 big crt monitors hooked upto the xp pro system but they are rarely on because i don't work directly with it.

    Work uses cytrix (So basically most pc's are glorified terminals).

    now I placed an order last night for an inexpensive laptop which is capable of running osx86. When i get it the first osx86 program will be a remote desktop client so i can keep windows compatability.

    I have big hopes of osX86 and one of them is to retire my windows boxen to a cupboard somewhere. To be used when i need cpu muscle and windows compatability.

    now to any Linux OS developers out there i need a better remote desktop solution for linux. because the way i see it is that a linux desktop shouldn't be expected to run locally by default and I want sound from my linux desktop to where i am working.

    Vmware may actually help me consolidate the operating systems i run to a single physical x86 with grunt and all access from a light weight use anywhere laptop.

    Pda /pdaphone
    they are nice when your on the go you can take your music with you write letters (slowly) video random events navigate your car. but the screen is too small to replace a pc in most circumstances. most aps are designed with a larger screen in mind so remoting from a pda is a pain.

    Windows Vista- why for me it fails.
    1)I do not want my rights to be managed. In theory it is supposed to bring security to windows (at last) which is a plus but in reality having my freedom taken away my rights managed is not something I am willing to trade off.

    The Future - from my viewpoint
    it has to be lightweight laptop systems running OSX86 or Linux with a home/work server supplying grunt and storage capacity when its needed.

    Working directly on a Desktop or Tower system seems so clunky to me. its like a throwback to the mainframe systems of old. The laptop gives you the freedom to work anywhere and with any os you choose.

    So maybe its true the PC ERA is coming to an end.

    A local household server running Linux and a widescreen laptop with a processor that doesnt burn too much power ( my new laptop offers 4- 4.5 hours battery life.) this seems like a good way of working to me, what do you think?


Pascal is not a high-level language. -- Steven Feiner