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Intels Wavering Market Dominance 26

Dale Chesser writes "...or the PC is dying? This article is rather critical of the PC's survival, citing the evolution of the "internet appliance". " I'm not so sure. Cheap PCs are making billions, and despite years of hype, those Net Appliances still aren't catching on.
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Intels Wavering Market Dominance

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  • Is a switching device a computer? (e.g. Cisco hardware) An intelligent disk array? (e.g. NetApp)

    My point is that computing devices are all around us that are non-PC technology. They are absorbed into the infrastructure, becoming ubitquitous. Perhaps a better topic would be to discuss the diminishing value of any desktop system.
  • Is it just me, or do net appliances sound just like a new cash cow for hardware manufacturers? I like my computer...keep your hands off. Long live the PC!
  • Network Computers are a niche -- always will be. The same advancements in technology / decreases in price that are driving net appliances and embedded systems will also fuel the continued proliferation of PCs.
    I used to believe the hype from Sun that "the network is the computer". But now I think the computer is an $80 processor and a 6 gig hardrive at less than $300. No paradigm changes anytime soon that I can see.


  • I find it incredible that while Intel receives so much grief for having a serial number in a CPU that NO EXISTING SOFTWARE makes use of, the NetPC (or any one of its other names) gets no attention at all.

    Is it just me who finds the thought of having to have my "computer" connected to a service provider every time I want to run an application a little suspicous? How would you like to pay a fee every time you start your favorite word processor?

    What about the privacy implications of your "computer" having NO local storage at all? Where do you plan keeping your private PGP keys?

  • The point is, you already trust your most important data to someone else who can edit it at anyt time and only gives you limited write access to it. They're called your bank or broker.
  • Just to let you guys know that although this is about a Microsoft product, it does not imply that I think the Microsoft Product is useful for the purpose described.

    We've implemented and are continuing to implement thin clients instead of PCs. "Windows Terminal Server" - all very fine: the clients are nice little modified Tektronix X terminals, and very stable.

    One problem is that the Terminal Server(s) is/are just glorified souped-up PCs and when they go down, everyone goes down.

    There are various problems, mostly arising from the fact that we're trying to run applications designed for use on PCs on non-PCs and also that we're trying to run a Thin Client server on a server system which was not originally designed with Thin Clients in mind.

    There are benefits though, we only need to install most applications once and everybody gets access to those applications.

    We will soon be setting up a remote office at which point the Thin Client could well come into it's own - being able to run applications over a low bandwidth link where the user gets the impression of fast access to our local network.

    I am sure that the PCs market share will be diminished by these types of clients in the near future. To what extent... that is anybodies guess.
  • When they say that PC will disappear and turn into all the appliances, i fail to see what exactly they mean.. HD will go into a hair dryer, monitor will go into tv, ram will go to your stereo, motherboard will be somewhere in the kitchen, video card will be built into garbage disposer.. I dunno what the hell do they mean.

    Somebody explain, if you can.
  • ...is going to say that they will not 'give up the power' of their personal computer. Well of COURSE we won't. But then, we aren't joe consumer.

    Joe wants something he doesn't have to think about, running as an appliance, that magically does everything he needs it to do, and is cool. Joe wants to exert as little effort as possible and achieve maximum return. Why else would WebTV make money? I've used it.. its HORRIBLE. But then, Joe doesn't know any better. Joe thinks WebTV is great, because he has a nifty remote that hooks him into the Internet, and he can look at his pr0n, or stock reports, or whatever, without leaving his couch.

    Internet appliances will do well, mainly because people don't know any better. Joe thinks PGP is an Angel Dust variant.. he has no concept of what encryption means to privacy. Joe just wants his email and pretty pictures.

    Does this sound bitter? Sure.. but it is absolutely true. There's one more thing that is not being addressed as well.. something I haven't seen people talk about much.. the PC saturation level right now.

    There are alot of people whom own PC's right now. And they are pretty good. And I would bet that most people do what they need to do on their existing PC. They aren't looking to buy a new one anytime soon.. since the one they have cost them a few grand. PC's are moving into an auto buying cycle.. every 5 years people think about buying a new one. 5 years?!?!?! Yep. Perhaps it's a bit shorter on average, but you can still see my point.. the burning market for PC's is out there, but is being saturated. People whom own PC's already aren't upgrading at the drop of a hat, like some of us might.

    So Joe, having spent $3k on his setup a few years ago, needs something better this year. He shops around and sees a sub $1k Internet appliance that promises to be fast, and flexible, and he won't have to worry about applications or software support, or anything like that. He just pays $800, and then $50 per month, and he is online, with everything he needs to function. Throw in the optional 'GamePak(tm)', a local hard drive and CDROM in a box that hot swaps into the unit, and he's good to go for QuakeIV.

    The market is splitting. There will be people there to pick up those pieces. And while I don't agree that the PC is doomed, I do believe that it's market will shrink, and if Intel doesn't cater to both sides, they will get screwed.. because AMD is the shark circling the embedded PC style appliance waters, and Motorola and DEC are not far behind. Motorola won't run windows, you say? So, how hard would it be to use OSX on an internet appliance? And perhaps give it the 'feel' of Windows? Or perhaps even Virtual PC thrown in for the bargain? DEC chips already run WinNT. I'm using an AMD right now and it kicks butt. Intel should be afraid.. not right now.. but in 3 years or so.. ooooooh boy. Mind you, I don't think they will lose their shirts, but their power is diminishing, and will continue to diminish in the face of the information age's natural maturation.

  • Honestly, people have been predicting this since the dawn of the PC. I don't expect NetPC's to replace PC's any sooner than public transportation would replace the automobile.

    Keep my 2.5 gig of nekkid pitchers on a public server? Not bloody likeley!

  • You're right. But we earned the right to be surly dammit! Many sysadmins started out in tech support. If that doesn't make you contemptuous of computer users, nothing will. :-)

  • And my bank is strongly regulated. My ISP is not. Plus, I have records and a paper trail to correct bank errors. Where is the paper trail if my net appliance service provider looses my magnum opus one day? Or serves my proprietary data to the wrong client?

    No thanks, I think I'll just keep my data on my drive.

  • Film at 11.

    For decades, embedded programming has been the submerged part of the computer sales iceberg. From cars to stereos to kitchen appliances to cash registers to furbies, embedded computers abound and are mostly unremarked on.

    Every once in a while, a pundit whose spent his whole career talking about the desktop and only being dimly aware of the server market, stumbles upon this fact, and immediately jumps to the conclusion that because this market is so much larger than the PC market (and it is), that PCs must inevitably be doomed. Bleh.

    One additional comment- segmenting is a classic tactic of monopolies. It allows you to agressively price in segments where you are facing competition, and make up the profits by overcharging in segments where you're not facing competition. IBM did it- occasionally charging 40% under cost to undercut the competition. Microsoft is trying to do it (98 vr.s NTWS vr.s NTServer vr.s NTEnteprrise), and now Intel is doing it. No big surprise.
  • It used to be that programmers had to get down to the iron because there was no operating system there to do what they needed done. Hence, their programs were tied to the machine's architecture.

    Now that we have a real operating system (linux) to do the grunt work, why does 'PC' need to mean 'IBM-PC clone'? Linux has already been ported to a few architectures that don't look anything like an IBM PC. A linux program sees the same thing whether it's run on a PC, an Alpha, a SPARC, a Mac, or whatever.

    I've been considering making my next computer a Mac or something else. Since I would load linux on it anyway, what difference does the hardware make? My programs still compile and run the same.

    If someone were to come out with a totally new computer that was well designed and thought out, kept the design open, and then ported linux to it, I'm sure it would sell.
  • NC's are the transistor radios of computing devices. The basic function is to access and present information, cheap is often a benefit.

    The abilities to create, manipulate, store, or randomly access information are add-ons.

    For Audio, you can upgrade to hifi, stereo, quadraphonic. Get a turntable and pick your own songs. A tape deck will let you store and arrange music. Mics, mixers, amps, speakers, bigger speakers...you name it.

    Draw the parallels from Audio to Computing yourself. I think transistor radios and NCs are both here to stay. Of course the transistor radio of the future, like next week maybe, will be a Palm Pilot with wireless MBone connection.

  • Another interesting take on Intel's future is Cringely's current column over at PBS

    http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/pulpit1999022 5.html

  • You're wrong here. Just wait...

    Take a look in an old Sears catalog from way back... old DIY'er/"hacker" types would buy an item from it called a standalone electric motor. you could buy all sorts of wacky attachments for it... like shoe polishers, blenders, etc. My grandfather had one of these setups gathering in the basement.

    This sounds exactly how we use computers today. True, you are saving money by adding components onto your computer instead of everything standalone, but don't expect the market to support your way of doing things forever. We have computers in the telephone, car, tele, and so on.

    Sure, they are not programmable computers, but that's also the point. Only a minority of the world's population use desktop computers. You have to not think in terms of CPU and harddrive.

    Apple gets it... look at the demand for the iMac (leave Apple biggotry at the door please..).

    3 Com gets it with the Palm computers.

    Microsoft doesn't get it with WinCE, which just looks like an effort to stuff a desktop into a smaller device, rather than trying to explore new ideas and change the way we work. (Of course, they could be just trying to dillute the handheld market the way they strategized screwing over Java , and developers).

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