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back to article IBM PC daddy: 'The PC era is over'

One of the dozen engineers who designed the original IBM PC, which celebrates its 30th anniversary on Friday, says that the reign of the personal computer is coming to an end. "They're going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs," writes IBM's Middle East and Africa CTO Mark Dean …

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Anonymous Coward

@david bates

Have you seen those iPad covers with an integrated bluetooth keyboard? It's hardly lugging it around. There's even a version for the Galaxy Tab. It's hardly lugging it around.

The software routinely used on my work laptop, VPN, RDP and SSH. I do most of that with my N900 except now I've just come into possession of a BT keyboard cover ...

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404
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Mushroom

Bah.

This commentard will have his dev machines until hell freezes over. There are times you need grunt and times just to get by - meaning 4-8 core processors, all the memory it will takes, and all the storage vs. just getting by with a tablet for a lil internet/network troubleshooting etc.

I also have a stock of incandescent lights too lol

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Yes I get what he is saying ...

... but nevertheless I'd like to invite him to write my reports or to create any other relevant content longer than 140 characters on his tablet.

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Not the point

Tablets don't replace computers.

Tablets replace TV/Books/Magazines - it simply happens that before dedicated tablets people used a PC to watch videos and browse websites

If internet connected TVs had come along 10years ago - we would be saying that tablets would replace TVs.

PCs replaced typewriters, minicomputers and to a lesser extent mainframes

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Anonymous Coward

depends what market your talking about

This might be the problem for IBM, note decreasing market share in many areas. PC's tend to have more power for those high end calculations and are perfect for parallel computing as they have a lot of power. The PC probably won't die anytime soon.

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No

Fondleslabs are all very well and good and can only get better but theres just some things that are done better with a PC.

I can see tablets being more common for casual users, especially with big monitor, keyboard, mouse and docking station. However, I don't think many developers, CAD engineers, etc are going to want to give up their workstations any time soon.

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IBM, UBM, We all BM for IBM

IBM sold their PC business a long time ago, and view the PC and Microsoft as an enemy now. An IBM vice president once said he wanted to put an ice pick into Bill Gate's head. So not really interesting to hear them say the PC is dead.

We can be thankful that IBM created the PC and then blunded by letting it become an open platform that they couldn't control.

Who knows what the future of personal computing is? A device with a big screen and a keyboard is not going away any time soon. It's clear that consumers value a mix of products (TV, cell phone, desktop computer, etc).

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(Written by Reg staff) Gold badge

Re: IBM, UBM, We all BM for IBM

IBM is vendor neutral about PCs, surely. If customers want Dell desktops, or Mac laptops, it will supply and service them.

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FAIL

IBM did not let it become an open platform

The Federal threatened to break up IBM because it was a monopoly. Letting loose of the PC was a small price to pay.

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Pint

El Reg Readers need not apply

to understand what the man is on about.

Because they are El Reg readers they don't fit the bill of being a bog standard PC user.

Because you are an El Reg reader you:-

- play games (time to grow up IMHO)

- Run Autocad or some specific design app

- Do DB design

- Do Application (of any sort development)

In general, you an IT professional not a 'Joe Sixpack User'.

I'd fully expect that you will need your i7 4.6Ghz, 16Gb Ram and 4Tb of disk monster under your desk (or in extreem addict cases on your lap) to run those SPECIALISED applications.

I'm in the same situation. I run tools lie Eclipse(in WID form), TOAD, SOAP-Ui etc. There is no way I'd be run those on the current generation of fondleslabs. That could very well change in a couple of years.

It's Friday so a few pints of HBB await.

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Meh

My wife...

0. doesn't read El Reg,

1. doesn't play any games beyond casual ones that fondleslabs can run,

2. doesn't run Autocad or anything like that,

3. knows what a DB is only because of my job, and responds to anything deeper than "I work with data" with "ZZZzzzzzz....",

4. doesn't do application development of any kind,

5. took one look at my tablet, and said "No thanks, I'll keep my laptop TYVM."

I understand what the man is on about, but of the many 'Joe Sixpack User's I know, 100% of them look at tablets as potential supplements, not replacements, for their PCs. So as much as I understand his point, I respectfully disagree with it.

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Anonymous Coward

They Also come in handy for...

A spreadsheet or two... a bit of word-processing...

Does anyone who happens to have a PC within reach browse the net on *their phone*?

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Stop

You can pry my inner child from my cold dead fingers.

- play games (time to grow up IMHO)

IMHO growing up is much over rated and if more people retained a sense of their inner child the world would be a better place.

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Anonymous Coward

"- play games (time to grow up IMHO)"

Time for you to stop getting your opinions on gaming from the Daily Mail and enter the modern world (IMHO)

Not everyone thinks that watching Corrie and getting pissed are the only forms of entertainment worthy of grown ups.

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re AC "- play games (time to grow up IMHO)"

Dear AC,

As you had a go at me and decided to hide behind an AC, I feel I must reply

1) I certainly don't read the Daily Wail - It is the Indie for me.

2) I wouldn't be seen dead watching Corrie (or just about anything on ITV or Sky or Virgin for that matter)

3) I don't get pissed and haven't for at least 10 years. Everything in moderation.

4) I started playing computer games in the late 1970's. Adventure on a VAX. Then I got a life and got on with it. I have tried a few console games since but frankly I have better things to do like writing my second novel (on a PC not a fondleslab) or walking the 8miles along the downs to see the Olympic Cycle event.

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Has anyone noticed...

It's worth repeating the observation that there is no such thing as a bubble opinion.

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Facepalm

Ah-hah...

That should be "humble". Stupid tablet.

See this is why they'll never replace the PC. :D

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Re "I have better things to do..." - No you don't.

Funny how some people seem to think that physical competition (such as cycling) is somehow "grown up", yet more sedentary competition (such as computer and other games) isn't. Unless the game is, say, chess or bridge, when it suddenly becomes magically grown up and acceptable again...

I also started playing computer games in the 70's (along with board and role-play - all social activities, in case you hadn't noticed, and just as valid IMO as, say, hoofing a soccer ball around a pitch once or twice a week). The difference is that I never stopped (in fact, I've a Warcraft session running full screen on the other, 24" monitor of my PC as I type - and let's see someone do *that* with a tablet any time soon....). It didn't stop me playing multiple sports, coaching rugby, learning to juggle, having a career and a social life, being happily married and raising four kids, and generally getting on with a host of other, unrelated things along the way. You wrote a book? Bully for you. That you did so had precious little to do with your not playing games. I've found time to write plenty along the way myself (although I realized quite quickly that I'm far too florid in my style to be commercial, and far too anal about consistency of detail to ever finish anything to my own satisfaction anyway). But I didn't "not grow up" - I just never learned to be embarrassed about doing things I enjoy, simply because people whose opinions I couldn't care less about don't understand them. I try things that take my fancy, and I don't give a toss what other people think about them (I've been trying to learn some basic Poi for the last few weeks - finally got the hang of a simple move called the three-beat weave about four hours ago, to my intense elation). My advice to anyone who feels differently is to lighten up, and enjoy life while you still have it - you'll be as dead as me in a couple of hundred years (and unless you're another Shakespeare, just as forgotten, too).

Back on topic, though - IBM didn't understand what they had when they brought the PC to market, or they'd never have let Microsoft have the OS - and they were thoroughly focused on the tech, back then. Why anyone should think any of them know any better now, when all that counts is squeezing a few extra bucks out of the bottom line any way that they can, is beyond me. Other people have said it - the PC hashigh-end roles that simply aren't going to be met any time soon by the supposedly "competing" tech.

(Oh - that career I mentioned? Pushing four decades as a techie inside IBM...)

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@PassingStrange

"Unless the game is, say, chess or bridge, when it suddenly becomes magically grown up and acceptable again..."

I often resort to playing bridge on a computer when I can't get four to play round the table. Anyone fancy a rubber or are you all duplicate snobs?

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Flame

@Steve Davies 3

"I have better things to do"

Like being a miserable, opinionated git, for example.

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Big Brother

"going the way of the incandescent light bulbs"

There is a laws forbidding the sale of PCs out?

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Dead my a***

I'm still using vacuum tubes, vinyl records, CRTs and incandescent light bulbs; and have no intention of giving them up any time soon!

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IBM needs new money-making idea

To declare something is dead is one of many ways to promote a new product. Old wine in new bottle.

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Coat

Lastday. Report to Carrousel.

12 August 1981 - LastDay. Report to Carrousel.

Renew! Renew!

(The Sandman jacket, quickly - I've got a Runner...)

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Mushroom

Only consumers

don't need a mouse and keyboard.

People that actually create information DO need a keyboard and mouse.

No-one is taking away my laptop.

I'll have one of every size Tablet to go from 4" to 12" though to go with it. That's the bit that Trek git wrong.

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If by PC he means

a Microsoft OS running on x86 well, yes there's that. Otherwise - not a chance. If a PC is a personal computer then then they've only just started. Wait for the implanted PC -that's personal by ten. On the other hand (the one not holding the fondle slab) if by PC, he means something with a screen, a keyboard and some sort of pointing device, well, until the aforesaid implants come along they ain't going to be disappearing. So, yes, the IBM PC is dead, long live the PC!

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Stop

Not over yet

Not long ago I noticed that when I clicked in the search entry box the entire entry was highlighted and if I clicked again the cursor was at the end instead of the beginning. Previously the cursor would be where you clicked. For me this marked the date of the end of the PC as an online research tool. This weekend I may purchase a Honeycomb device to take advantage of this Internet transition but continue to use my PC for developing applications software. The Honeycomb device will be used strictly to have access to the Internet away from home while at home the PC will continue to serve me for applications development. In fact, I will continue to improve its speed and power by adding servers to my home network and expect that this is the way the PC will go - more powerful and faster rather than filling up my garbage can.

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@Optimal Classifier

What? Your browser of choice is crappy so you're ditching the PC for web browsing.

I've new for you -- if the iPad is anything to go by the search box is even more of a PITA to use on tablets because you have to click the box then move your finger around until you see the spot you want highlighted in "a magnifying glass" (perhaps Android does it like Windows does*) -- meaning that to modify a search you have to click, hold, then drag very, very, very carefully. This means that even if the browser you use was written by muppets it's still harder to do the same task on the default fondle-slab.

*I recall the fun days of Windows CE and phone editions where tapping the screen in what amounted to the same place about 8 times in quick succession until the right place was highlighted was the order of the day -- if Android does it like this then your point is still valid, to some extent at least.

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Going the way of vinyl?

Really? Seems to me there's a strong upswing of interest in vinyl right now. There's even an upswing of interest in shellac...

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Flame

Predictions

I want a new law.

When an expert makes a prediction, he needs to give a date by which this prediction will come to pass.

If that date comes and goes and the prediction doesn't happen, then it should be illegal for any journalist to quote that expert, henceforth and forevermore.

Also, the expert must wear a dunce cap whenever he is in public.

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DJV
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Agreed

And, while we're at it, have a similar law apply to politicians and their so called 'promises' with the exception that if they don't keep their promises they don't wear a dunce cap but have their entire head removed instead.

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Re: Agreed

Nah, it looks awful. They should be just removed from public space.

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Zot
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I know what you mean, but he was talking about 'Personal' computers...

...Not business workhorses - 'personal.' I'm typing this on a PC tower at home, but If I didn't need it for my work, I would probably have a laptop to save space. And if I didn't do much typing apart from the occasional message, I would probably only need a tablet. They're more convenient, and batteries last longer than a lot of laptops. And they don't burn my legs. : )

It's all about the general public (you know, the plebs) and what they're ultimately trending towards. Do they really want a desk, taking up space?

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Personal Computers

My parents still need a real PC to download pictures from digital camera and put them on our website. Not to mention the whole issue of printing... They are in their 50 and just recently learned to differentiate MS Word from LibreOffice/OOo Writer.

PCs in form of tower boxes or laptops are here to stay.

Updating facebook or twitter isn't "computing", you can do it from a phone.

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Zot
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They could still use a laptop, it's all about what they're used to.

Of course the boxes will still be around, because that's what people are accustomed to. But, I don't see it lasting. Laptops are the new PCs, and tablets are the new internet search devices, and social media connections.

Vinyl record players are still around, as well as those ancient CD players. But they are the "old person's" preferences.

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Anonymous Coward

Cars are no longer at the cutting edge of travel

They'll be around for while yet, though.

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This is not a title

Not gonna happen anytime soon, and I can prove it! I got the data somewhere on one of these 5.25 inch floppies.

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Predictions from IBM?

hmm I seem to remember the last two predictions IBM bigwigs made.. "no one will ever want their own computer" just before personal computers hit the world like a storm and "no one will ever want more than 640K RAM" after it became apparent they hadn't so much as designed their own PC as thrown it together in a panic with spare parts. Maybe this guy knows his stuff, but his company's track record in predictions isn't exactly solid. My own feeling is PCs will remain as long as people play PC games. No gamer will be happy with using a phone or a tablet as a gaming device because you can't update the graphics, sound, ram and hd to keep one running the latest games with everything turned on. And wifi latency? Not seeing many shooter fans that'll settle for that.

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@Dropper

The "640K" quote is also falsely attributed to Bill Gates. In all reality, when configured properly the original 5150 could access around 760K of "low" RAM (if you could afford it!).

The real "should be enough" quote was Steve Jobs, when demoing the original Apple Macintosh at the Home Brew Computer Club, a couple weeks before the official unveiling. He said, and I quote "256K should be more than enough for home users" ... and he had a point. We had flight simulators running in 64K of RAM!

Sometimes I look at the modern world and despair over the sheer waste ...

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I need my PC

to copy recorded gigs to from my obsolete minidisc recorder

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FAIL

With due respect, he's a corporate idiot

I'm glad the author mentioned that the company line was being towed.

How the heck do I design websites and code applications for my clients on an ipad? How do I write very long project briefs on an ipad? WTF would I want a 10" screen instead of my dual 24" one and a propper keyboard and the precision of a mouse?

If he represents IBM then they've finally lost the plot.

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Zot
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But you do very different things than the average Joe.

What percentage of computer owners are developers like ourselves? It's very small, and certainly not the biggest market for the consumer cash-tills.

For some, a windows PC desktop is a really expensive way to play 'Spider Solitaire' !

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hj
Windows

For some, a windows PC desktop is a really expensive way to play 'Spider Solitaire'

Funny thing is: a tablet is - often - more expensive than a desktop PC!

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Interface users or computer users? Two different kettles of fish.

Interface users fondle their slabs/iFads/other so-called "smart" phones..

Computer users engineer the hardware, OS and applications running on fondleslabs/iFads and other so-called "smart phones".

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Spot on

Dean's spot on. Hardware is essentially a solved problem compared to UI. That so many geeks think otherwise is the reason UI is so crap still.

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Devil

Looking good while completely missing the point.

> Dean's spot on. Hardware is essentially a solved

> problem compared to UI. That so many geeks think

> otherwise is the reason UI is so crap still.

The main reason I find myself pulling out the bash shell is the fact that most people who fancy themselves HID acolytes managed to drop the ball when making their GUIs.

People think that a few pretty pictures and an appearance that doesn't scare away people is good enough. It isn't. It's thoughtless in a subtle sort of way. You may have to be a "geek" to understand what's broken.

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Me again, with the HP TC4400 Tablet PC (in tablet mode)

BTW, incandescent bulbs are a darn site greener or eco freindly than CFLs. No mercury or other heavy metals, fewer components - most of which are easily recycleable ( eg glass & metal), dimmable, more robust than complex CFLs which tend to fail/dim way before the quoted 8000 hour life expectancy.

Can't wait for LED lights to become mainstream though. First gen ones are still a bit iffy.

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@CatFunt on CFLs

CFLs are noticeably dimmer well before the 8,000 hour life because that lifetime is quoted for "reduced to 50% output". (That also represents a massive drop in efficacy*)

They fail before that because the control gear in 99% of them is shit. I've never seen a dead CFL that failed due to the tube.

CFLs are a dead technology, currently held up by the poor understanding of politicians - it was only last year that the EU finally decided to base the rules on luminous efficacy instead of specific technologies. This suddenly made tungsten halogen popular.

So actually, tungsten is on the way back in! Most of my house is lit by tungsten halogen.

- Incidentally, good LED is available now, it's just far too expensive for domestic use. If you've got £500 to £1000 then you can get some really great fittings rated at ~70,000 hours to 70% output.

Of course, domestic consumers simply aren't going to pay that!

*This is not a typo.

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Silver badge

Eh, the PC'll be around a while yet.

It's just going to settle into it's own niche.

Up to now, it was PC (I'm talking about the beige box here) for all your home computing needs. Now there's laptops, smartphones DVRs and tablets, as well as the general purpose PC, each filling a useful role with its own strengths.

WARNING: Car analogy ahead!

It's like personal vehicles, there's everything from mopeds, scooters, and motorcycles, to sedans, SUVs, trucks and sports cars, all for personal use, and each filling a particular need. I don't see anyone saying that the family car is obsolete because the others exist.

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Trollface

Er

Didn't they use the same type of logic when they dumped OS2?

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