It has been a landmark couple of weeks.
First Google acquired Motorola Mobility, effectively enabling Google to manufacture their own Android handsets (and thereby becoming a threat to their own handset partners). Following this, HP announced that it was seeking to offload (or spinoff) its PC manufacturing division, much like IBM did when it sold off to Lenovo. Then, Steve jobs has stepped down as the CEO of Apple (though having been on medical leave since January), leaving hordes of sobbing iFanatics lamenting his departure.
In a strange sort of way all of these headlines relate to modern technology and computing trends. Google can now manufacture its own mobile handsets to pair with the Android software they already develop. HP’s departure from the PC manufacturing business leaves Dell and Apple as the only remaining North American PC manufacturers. And Steve Jobs has masterfully pushed the envelope of personal computing for the last decade, resulting in the richest company in the world (jockeying for the position alongside Exxon).
HP’s sudden exit signals what IBM evidently knew years ago, that the PC trend was on its way out, and mobile devices are in. This causes a significant issue for some firms that focus purely on PC service and support (especially those who focused on HP certifications), and flips the industry on its ear. What matters now isn’t speed, power or storage (especially with the advent of cloud storage). Rather, the focus becomes mobility, accessibility, and compatibility across multiple platforms. Software will continue to move towards cloud-based web applications or SaaS platforms. HTML5 has already made waves by introducing powerful new features that don’t require a complex server-side language.
Meanwhile, Apple has led the way in showing what a smart phone should be capable of. Of all their products, the iPod/iPhone/iPad is the most popular, the most lucrative product line (for Apple), and is the bar to which all other mobile devices strive. With Steve Jobs gone, many are asking whether Apple will maintain their obsession for build quality and PR momentum. Will Apple be as successful as it has been without the charisma of its founder?
And does all of this really spell the death of the PC?
Workstations will always be necessary in business, but may trend more towards custom builds as opposed to manufactured systems, or perhaps all manufacturing will be overseas. But even if PCs do go the way of the dodo, that’s okay. Device A will still need to talk to device B.
McLean IT Consulting will still be here to help.