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What does the future hold for PC manufacturers?

August 21, 2011

Last October I wrote a post entitled PC vs Mobile Devices.  The post was inspired by Ray Ozzie, former Chief Software Architect for Microsoft, who raised a lot of eyebrows when he included this in a Microsoft memo:

“It’s important that all of us do precisely what our competitors and customers will ultimately do: close our eyes and form a realistic picture of what a post-PC world might actually look like . . . ”

Since that time a lot has happened.  Microsoft has become even more cozy with Nokia and recently Google raised a lot of eyebrows with their aggressive purchase of Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion.  It remains to be seen if either of these strategic moves will pay dividends for Microsoft or Google, but what seems crystal clear is that these moves underscore a significant shift in both consumer and business demand.  Since Apple introduced the iPhone and more recently the iPad, PC manufacturers have struggled significantly despite technology remaining one of the few bright spots in our economy.

Dell continues to revise their numbers downward and still faces huge encroachments from Apple’s iPhone and iPad, which are eating away at Dell’s consumer PC and notebook business.  HP finally admitted defeat as it announced this week that it would shutter their phone and tablet units.  This comes on the heels of HPs purchase of Palm only a year ago for $1.8 billion to try and give it some parity in the tablet and smart phone market. According to Bloomberg this means that HP now essentially ceases to exist as a PC manufacturer and will follow in the footsteps of IBM (albeit a few years behind Big Blue) to become a software and services firm.

One wonders what this means for other PC manufacturers if HP is getting out and Dell’s forecast looks grim.

In my posting last October I said “hardware marketers should wake up and use their websites to better promote their mobile products while they remain relevant players and before they follow in the footsteps of other technology giants who were unable to “imagine” as Ray Ozzie puts it.”  Unfortunately, the writing was already on the wall when I wrote this last fall and PC manufacturing giants are starting to fall.  Can you say “Timmmberrr!”


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