Has the PC had its day?


It's 30 years since the first IBM PC was launched and an executive who worked on the innovation has claimed the format is heading the same way as the typewriter.

Mark Dean, chief technology officer at IBM in the Middle East and Asia said IBM was right to leave the PC industry in 2005, when it sold out to Lenovo. He added the world was heading into a post-PC era.

"It's amazing to me to think that 12 August marks the 30th anniversary of the IBM Personal Computer," Dean said on IBM's Smarter Planet blog.

"The announcement helped launch a phenomenon that changed the way we work, play and communicate. Little did we expect to create an industry that ultimately peaked at more than 300 million unit sales per year."

While PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they're no longer at the leading edge of computing.

But according to Dean, the arrival of tablets, smartphones and cloud computing means the writing is on the wall for the PC, although he admitted they would still hold strong in many industries for now.

"I, personally, have moved beyond the PC as well - my primary computer now is a tablet," Dean said. "When I helped design the PC, I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline.

"But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they're no longer at the leading edge of computing. They're going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs."

Dean claimed that hardware and access devices were becoming less important as consumers focused more on how technology linked people, rather than on silicon itself.

"PCs are being replaced at the centre of computing not by another type of device, though there's plenty of excitement about smartphones and tablets," he said.

"These days, it's becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices, but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people's lives."