The 50 Shades of PC Decline

Gadgets, IT Business
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I’ve been watching the recent doomsday reports (make that “factual accounts of actual sales worldwide”) about how the PC is dying, how Windows 8 is the main culprit, and the industry in general is imploding.

First of all, this isn’t really news. Even without the Windows 8 catastrophe, anyone could have told you this would have happened for years. I remember arguing with today-unemployed-VARs about this and explaining to deaf ears how the infrastructure needs will keep pace with what the users actually need.

Turns out, which is something anyone that has ever worked with a casual business user will tell you, the average user doesn’t need much more computing power than your average phone or tablet provides these days. They need access to email, ability to store and retrieve files, communicate with people in general and few have some specialized app (which is moving online).

Yes, this ignores the needs of CAD users everywhere which apparently exist as the core client group of ignorant solution providers everywhere. This mythical beast that needs 16 monitors, realtime access to files that are several GB in size, a 6’ printer and a tape backup. The other 99.99999999999999% of the business don’t and they are “rightsizing their IT infrastructure”

Rightsizing IT infrastructure

I am getting a trademark on this. Smile

Not every employee in every company needs a PC or a printer.

The total cost of ownership of a PC with managed services is absolutely off the charts insane.

If I were a VAR (and thank god I’m not) and even to a select portion of MSP providers, here is what I would do:

Charge for the services (email, web, im, storage)

Charge for the technical support, vendor management, IT dept.

Give the damn devices away for free.

Listen, your clients already consider the junk to be worthless.

It’s approaching damn near 0 in cost (I just issued our entire workforce $150 a 10” Android 4.2 tablet so they can do their personal stuff on the tablets instead of work PCs)

At least this way you catch them before they take the eventual leap anyhow. Who in their right mind spends $300-500 on a system just to spend another $50 a month on support? But remove that up front cost and call it a service fee and now you’re preaching to the choir.

Defending Microsoft

Windows 8 is an awesome operating system.

But Vlad, Windows 8 sucks and that’s why the PCs aren’t selling. Drastic change in the interface, no start bar, terrible app store (marketplace) and it takes me 8x longer to do anything (except reboot, that’s awesomely fast!)

Ok, so you’re technically right.

Windows 8 was not designed to help PC sales. Or to give Microsoft an edge over Apple, Google, Oracle, or others.

Listen, if Vladville could call what you’re seeing in the industry today so far in advance, Microsoft knew it too. So they built Windows 8 – the inbetween release to a full touch optimized PC experience that can compete with what the users actually want.

I know everyone hates Metro.


I know.

But if you want to time travel back to 2003-2007 – the golden age of Windows CE and Windows Mobile – you would see tons of geeks walking around with bricks and these strange little toothpicks that they kept on losing. Why did they need this “stylus” thing? To hit the motherfu@#%^ X close icon in the upper right hand corner.

Surface blows. It’s a 10” screen with a 1366 x 768 resolution that requires smurf fingers to operate traditional Windows apps. You have never experienced the level of anger until you’ve tried to navigate a busy Windows form on a midget screen and hit every wrong control until you finally smashed the f’n tablet and broke off the chunk of your own desk.

In order for the Windows ecosystem to transition to what is next… Windows 8 was the necessary evil. Because if Microsoft shipped Windows 8 as a touch-only OS.. oh dear god, they wouldn’t sell 2 copies.

That is why the Surface keyboard (got em both, pick one) sucks – they want to move you away from the brilliant design that was conceived back in the day when they had to make keys so far apart you wouldn’t hit them quickly enough to jam the typewriter. Yeah. Been a few years huh.

To understand is To predict is To profit

The traditional “PC” comprised of a tower, shitty keyboard connected to a shitty monitor is going away.

The next PC is about touch, ergonomics, portability and more reliance on the cloud.

Pick where you are going to be. Do you sell the gear at a low margin? Do you sell the service? Do you sell support? Do you fix it when it breaks and what’s the sweet spot for tablet repair when the tablet costs less than $300?

The world is changing. Only so many of us can work for our vendors… so if you like your business you have to work on your business.

You just have to move faster than Microsoft and Apple and Google.