I mean, the only way such a post would be even remotely surprising is if Frank Shaw didn’t have these feelings. Of course, he also wouldn’t work for Microsoft if that were the case, because who works for a company they think has no future? (Actually, plenty of people do — but Shaw is in a position where he certainly wouldn’t have to.)
While Shaw’s post may be obvious, also probably obvious is that I disagree with a lot of it. I don’t disagree with his main point — that the PC won’t be killed anytime soon — but I disagree with the notion of framing his entire argument this way.
When most people bring up “Post-PC”, they cite Steve Jobs’ use of the term. Again, no surprise there, he’s the man ushering in the devices of this era. Of course, he also ushered in the PC era itself, but that’s another matter. The key thing Shaw leaves out (he never mentions Jobs or Apple at all — which, again, could not be any less surprising) is that Jobs himself has said that in the Post-PC world, the PC doesn’t die, it just fades into the background of computing. It becomes the “truck,” as Jobs called it.
By saying that smartphones, tablets, etc, aren’t going to kill PCs, Shaw is distracting everyone from the real argument. He never bothers to mention that these devices could very well shove the PC out of the limelight as a consumer device. In fact, many numbers suggest this is already happening.
Yes, PCs remain better tools for creation at this point, in my view. But thinking that tablets and smartphones won’t continue to improve and attack that space as well is foolish. Shaw is making an argument for why the PC is better at content creation now. What about two years from now? What about five years from now?
The PC will evolve as well, but the fact of the matter is that it’s a mature product. The basics haven’t changed much in the past 20 years. The specs increase, and the bodies slightly morph (though, again, you could credit Apple with that more than anyone else), but the real action and innovation is happening outside the walls of the PC.
Oh, but Windows 8 will change that! We’ll see. Software is great, but it can only do so much. I’d have more faith in Microsoft transforming the PC for the future if they made PCs as well. Instead, HP does.
No matter what you think of HP’s big moves this past week, their step away from the PC world speaks volumes. They’re not doing it because they’re batshit crazy. They’re doing it because sales are declining and the margins suck. They’re doing it because they can’t beat Apple.
It’s not a good sign for an industry when the leader of that industry quits and walks away. No amount of spin can change that.