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The death of the computing industry stalwart, the PC, has been predicted for some time as smart phones screens became bigger and sales of tablets exploded.

I can’t count the number of CEOs who have told me that they do all their business on their handset.
Falling PC and laptop sales help fuel the notion that enterprises will soon stop buying anything with a keyboard.

At this week’s Canadian Telecom Summit in Toronto, speakers often regaled the audience with stories of millennials who not only live with their smart phones, they don’t know how to dial with a keypad.(That was the point of IBM’s John Gordon, who touted the Watson natural language supercomputer his division is offering. Millennials don’t want to search for information when they have problems with devices, he argued, so telcos should use Watson to aid support staff to search through databases.)

But last week Intel released a financial advisory that its second quarter revenue may be better than expected because of stronger than anticipated demand for business PCs.

What’s going on?

Luddite that I am, I’ve never believed that PCs will disappear in my lifetime (Ok, I’m 64). As someone who’s job it is to churn out text, I can’t imagine working without a keyboard and a powerful computer. Voice commands for searching? Nah.

Industry analyst Jack Gold writes here that a number of things have happened recently to boost PC purchases by enterprises, including hiring in the U.S. and the need to update ageing computers.
“I foresee that the general uptick in mobile PCs geared toward enterprise users will continue for at least the next two to three quarters — and likely beyond that,” he said. “The uptick won’t be as dramatic as we’ve seen in the past, but it will be steady and substantial.”

He also believes tablet-laptop combos (so-called two-in-ones) will increase in popularity for business users. IT managers should take note.

But whatever the format, his point is that the versatility and performance of the PC can’t be beat. I’ll buy that.

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