Saturday 11 June 2005

Dull future for the home and office PC

Nicholas Carr recently blogged:

"The first 25 years in the history of the personal computer were an aberration. Here's why: The business and consumer markets for the product were essentially the same. When you went out to buy a computer for your home, you used more or less the same criteria that corporate purchasing agents used when buying fleets of PCs for employees. The drab, utilitarian PC on the desk in your study (or spare bedroom) looked the same and worked the same as the drab, utilitarian PC on the desk in your office...But it's not going to last much longer. I think we're finally at the point where we're going to see the home PC diverge, and diverge quite radically, from the business PC. The home PC is going to turn into a real consumer product - or fragment into a whole bunch of consumer products."

Carr's discussion around divergence understates the fragmentation that will actually take place in the PC market over the long term. However, I don't think it has anything to do with "snazzier models" - what happens to the PC has more to do with how we use technology in the workplace (including the design of the workplace) and at home. For example it was reported recently that laptop/notebooks outsold desktop PCs in the US. So the idea of a desktop PC at work may also become a thing of the past, when what people need from time to time is a big screen and big keyboard.

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