Is the PC Dead?

September 1998
by Reid Goldsborough

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Is it time to scrap your PC or dump your investments in the likes of PC kingpins Intel and Microsoft? For the past five years, a vocal mélange of pundits and industry leaders have been predicting the death of the PC. It’s complicated, expensive, unreliable, and underutilized, they say. In fact, IBM-the mainframe computer giant that legitimized the personal computer with the introduction of the IBM PC in 1981-included a section in its annual report last year titled “The PC Era Is Over.” Scores of companies are racing to introduce PC replacements. Computer trade shows such as Comdex and PC Expo-which historically have been showcases for new PC products-are increasingly dominated by announcements about non-PC devices.

The Alternatives

What’s changing things is the Internet, and it is indeed leading to profound developments in the world of personal computing. Rather than an end in itself, the PC is seen more and more as just one of a number of Internet access devices.Internet appliances such as the i-opener (http://www.netpliance.com) are easier to set up and use than a PC, and less expensive too. Handheld computers such as the Palm VII (http://www.palm.com) are portable, popular, and increasingly connected. For business use, network computers-which haven’t been as popular as predicted by companies such as Sun Microsystems and Oracle-are quietly encroaching upon the office. A recent survey by Computerworld magazine found that 35% of bu…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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