Some say that the fact that you can access your PC’s computing power remotely via mobile devices, that the PC already has one foot in the grave. Let me tell you, that the PC started smelling like road kill around 2005. It is long past burying.
There will always be a need for PC’s in certain industries, but that has little relevance to the consumer world of computing devices as a whole. It is thought that the iPhone started the plummet of the popularity of the PC, but the iPhone was created because of the shift; it did not create the shift. Steve Jobs made the decision in light of the shift that was already happening. The iPhone simply gave the shove that gave it momentum.
Since Apple introduced the iPhone, it has maintined its portion of sales in the area of computing devices, while it has sold a larger ratio of iOS devices and WinTel has lost its footing. The WinTell fall has been quite dramatic only in the last two years.
If you still do not believe, consider the latest news that about 350 million PC’s were sold in 2011. Now compare that to Samsung’s estimates of 300 million handsets sold. These are all mobile devices, most of which can access the Internet and run applications.
The ARM architecture may not be as powerful as the x86 or x86-64, but it may be enough for most people’s needs. While it suffers for not being able to handle CAD, 3-D movies, or 3-D graphics, a simple cloud connection might solve some of these shortcomings. Consider Amazon’s 750 hours of no-cost Windows Server instances as an example of this shift. In the areas of price, performance, and power, the traditional PC is clearly more than required.
When you toss in the economic struggles, the explanation of the shift away from PC’s is supported. But in reality, we will see whether this is a factor as Intel watches how its Unltrabooks fair at $1,000 and more. Nevertheless, the drop in sales of low-end netbooks, from $200-$400, over the past two years lends credence to the argument. Those who cannot afford to shell out cash for a PC will give it up for a smartphone or tablet. After all, even the higher end handsets have dramatically lowered their prices. Ok, so the price is not so sweet when the monthly service fee is considered, but for those with a tight budget, this is the only way to manage obtaining a computing device.
The startup investment is lower for mobile devices, so the swirling economy sucks people in. The availability of an increasing number of cloud services and the matching of capability of the PC is stealing the sales away. Microsoft wanted at one time to create a computer on every surface, but could not figure out how. Apple did it by putting it in the phone, which not only sits on surfaces. Now your computer goes with you everywhere, and often travels in your pocket. Thank you, Apple! Thank you, Steve!
Source: Horace Dediu