Microsoft refuses to eulogize the PC

Posted by Trent Nouveau

Microsoft is refusing to eulogize the stalwart PC despite the wild popularity of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones.

Understandably, Redmond prefers to view such mobile devices as supplements - rather than replacements - although smartphones and tablets will eventually be capable of handling PC-like tasks. 

But for now, at least according to Microsoft corporate VP Frank Shaw, there is no post-PC era, simply because "plus is the new post."

Microsoft refuses to eulogize the PC"Nothing draws more links and eyeballs than saying something is a foo-'killer' or that foo is 'dead.' That's human nature and part of the way we like our stories, simple and straightforward, black and white," Shaw opined in an official blog post.

"But in the world of technology, it's rarely (but not never) that clear cut. Most of the time, in fact, new objects enhance and complement the things we've already got. They don't replace them."

As Shaw notes, this relationship is illustrated by general purpose PCs and their interaction with other devices, including eReaders, tablets, smartphones and set top boxes.

"[No], these aren't PC killers, but instead are complementary devices. They are each highly optimized to do a great job on a subset of things any PC can also do.

"Does that mean that taken together they do everything a PC can do? Absolutely not. Does it even mean that PCs are the new niche, only needed for special occasions? Absolutely not."

Shaw also emphasized that PCs are able to execute certain tasks "uniquely well." As such, they clearly aren't going away anytime soon, because PCs are "rapidly and dramatically" getting better at "doing the things" companions devices do. 

"Over the years, the PC evolved from word processor and automated calculator to a communications device we couldn't live without - email, instant messaging, evolving to today's always-on social environment in which we tweet, like, Skype, post, tag and check-in our way through the day," he explained.

"And over the years some of the great experiences first delivered on a PC have been extended to smartphones, internet companions, tablets and, yes, even our cars. Today, the PC and these companion devices are all nodes on the network, connecting to cloud-based services to deliver real-time stock quotes, sports scores, and other updates we can't imagine living without."

Although Shaw did acknowledge that non-PC objects do a "great job" at enabling people to communicate and consume, he reiterated they "aren't as good" as PCs when it comes to creating and collaborating.

"And that's why one should take any reports of the death of the PC with a rather large grain of salt... So while it's fun for the digerati to pronounce things dead, and declare we're post-PC, we think it's far more accurate to say that the 30-year-old PC isn't even middle aged yet, and about to take up snowboarding."