PC market to wane as new innovations take hold

The days of the PC are numbered, according to one of the designers who worked on the very first one

It’s been 30 years since the advent of the IBM Personal Computer, but according to IBM designer Dr Mark Dean, who worked on the original 5150, the days of the PC are now numbered.

Writing on a blog post to commemorate the 30th anniversary, Dean revealed: “My primary computer now is a tablet.

"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.”

Even though he was integral to launching a phenomenon that changed the way the world works, plays and communicates, Dean said he was proud of the fact that IBM decided to leave the personal computer business in 2005, selling its PC division to Lenovo.

Although a move questioned by many in the tech industry, it has been commercially vindicated and often heralded as visionary.

“The story of IBM’s involvement in the PC market and foray into the post-PC era illustrates one of the core traits of our company: We’re always on the lookout for the next big thing,” Dean wrote.

“We anticipate changes and try to get out ahead of them – rather than waiting and reacting defensively.”

Over the past 10 years, in addition to leaving the PC business, IBM has exited disk drives and printers. It invests about $US6 billion in R&D.

“PCs are being replaced at the center of computing not by another type of device — though there’s plenty of excitement about smartphones and tablets — but by new ideas about the role that computing can play in progress,” Dean continued.

“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.”

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