Linked by David Adams on Thu 18th Aug 2011 19:13 UTC
In the News Hewlett-Packard Co. , the world's largest computer maker, is in talks to buy [database search software vendor] Autonomy Corp. for about $10 billion and plans to spin off its personal-computer business, people with direct knowledge of the matter said. Is this an indicator of the Post PC Era?
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Indicator of the future
by umad on Thu 18th Aug 2011 21:03 UTC
umad
Member since:
2011-08-18

We've all talked about a 0 sum game were winner takes all. Nobody ever thought it would happen within our relative life times however it would seem that the economy is spurring things on a little faster than we imagined.

While there are several companies in the personal computer business that are profitable it can definitely be said that each one of them... well all but one is seeing drastically dwindling profits as a result of the PC market place catering to the lowest common denominator... price.

That one exception of course is Apple.

The differentiation by price business methodology is a recipe for disaster. And though every PC fan boy in the 90s thru early 2000s declared Apple's decision to own or control the whole platform a bad business decision it now looks as if Apple was right and is vindicated.

All the previous big time players saw the writing on the wall with the iPod, iPhone, iPad and eventually also the Mac that more and more of them realized their lack of business savvy and tried to buy up other platforms in an effort to copy the obviously (in retrospect) superior business model.

HP was notorious for this... buying Amiga, BeOS and Palm.

When IBM got out of the PC business, I personally saw the writing on the wall while most of the people on this site and others saw it as a failing of IBM. When Compaq merged it with HP, it only furthered this way of thinking. The same people on this site and elsewhere never even considered it as an indicator of things to come.

Apple's rapid growth in every market it competed within sealed the deal in my opinion but the others had their head in the sand. Only now as HP exits the PC business are people even beginning to contemplate that this is an indicator of the 0 sum game argument playing itself out.

Interestingly enough, my prediction is that there will always be a personal computer. There will be no post PC era. I believe there will however be a consolidation of all PC manufacturers and they will merge under Microsoft's brand and will mimic Apple's business model of controlling the whole platform. The two remaining players will be Microsoft and Apple but the disparity in market share will be dramatically different by that time. I think it will be much more equal then.

We'll see.

Edited 2011-08-18 21:06 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Indicator of the future
by Flatland_Spider on Thu 18th Aug 2011 23:10 in reply to "Indicator of the future"
Flatland_Spider Member since:
2006-09-01

This is pretty much spot on, except you're discounting the design expertise Apple brings to the table. The other manufacturers settle for good enough, and they probably would have arrived at the same spot they are now.

For a counter-point, the standardization on a third-party OS enabled PCs to be come cheaper since software vendors only had to program for one OS, and the third-party OS allowed portability between hardware vendors, which also contributed. Standardization was bound to happen with Windows or something else; there were just too many hardware vendors for it to now happen.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Indicator of the future
by zima on Tue 23rd Aug 2011 21:06 in reply to "RE: Indicator of the future"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

the design expertise Apple brings to the table. The other manufacturers settle for good enough

Can we really say that after a long series which starts with Apple III (the one with completely inadequate cooling, Apple advising to drop the units from time to time to reseat the components), via similarly overlooking cooling and obvious user practices G4 Cube, the puck, numerous problems over recent years with cracking or discolouration of materials...

...up to the recent antennagate, an almost one year delay of introducing a white design of iPhone4, and the fiasco of button-less Shuffle?

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Indicator of the future
by Dr.Mabuse on Fri 19th Aug 2011 00:35 in reply to "Indicator of the future"
Dr.Mabuse Member since:
2009-05-19

When has it ever been different? People who have been around long enough know that the PC hardware business has always been a ruthless cut-throat game.

IMHO, eventually all the hype about Apple is going to eventually subdue (I was going to say "come to a griding halt", but that is perhaps a bit strong for the immediate future.) The market for tablet and smart phone users is becoming saturated with upteen different variations. What then for Apple's much vaunted "business model" ? They know this too ... Hence the ever more ridiculous legal battles on multiple fronts.

Interestingly enough, my prediction is that there will always be a personal computer. There will be no post PC era. I believe there will however be a consolidation of all PC manufacturers and they will merge under Microsoft's brand and will mimic Apple's business model of controlling the whole platform. The two remaining players will be Microsoft and Apple but the disparity in market share will be dramatically different by that time. I think it will be much more equal then.


Perhaps ... Maybe the big players will decide this is the way to go. As you say: We'll see.

But, what about all the commodity PC gear manufacturers? (e.g. Gigabyte, ASUS - the upteen different Taiwanese and Chinese companies) Do they just pack up shop under this grand vision?

Where does this leave non-Microsoft operating systems? Particularly the one that now contributes greatly to the back-end business of everything from mom-and-pop operations to Fortune 500 companies, Supercomputers, smart-phones and so forth?

I guess in a nutshell, I can't help but think that there is still a LOT of room in the market place for computer equipment that allow people to get real work done. Software Engineering, 3D CAD & Mechanical Design, etc. I don't think Apple can ever dominate there.

Edited 2011-08-19 00:38 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Indicator of the future
by zima on Tue 23rd Aug 2011 21:13 in reply to "Indicator of the future"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

And then comes a disruption, and the "winner" collapses almost like a house of cards.

I believe there will however be a consolidation of all PC manufacturers and they will merge under Microsoft's brand and will mimic Apple's business model of controlling the whole platform. The two remaining players will be Microsoft and Apple

Not a chance, if only because China values technological independence from some time now, and will have influence beyond their borders, on what the world uses. PC division of IBM didn't strictly get out of PC business, they essentially moved to China; where they are healthy and growing.

Reply Parent Score: 1