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PC market in freefall, tablets crush sales
The PC has held up near endless jibes and fads over the course of the past twenty years — the last decade in particular. But when the new slate-like tablet form factor arrived a little over three years ago, little did we realize at the time exactly what impact it would have on the traditional desktop and notebook PC business.
Let's blame the iPad, first and foremost. Introduced by Apple in 2010, it began to eat into the PC market's profits and margins. Not just that, it reached a point where the fruit-themed shiny rectangle, which remains the most popular tablet device on the market, began to cannibalize the same company's Mac business.
While tablets and the rise of part-phone, part-tablet "phablets" are leaving their mark on the market that has for so long held its weight in the tech field, the impact is spreading far and wide. Chipmakers and hardware makers were forced to diversify their product ranges to hit all walks of gadgetry life in a bid to stay afloat.
PCs are far from dead yet. But exactly how long they'll live remains unknown.
Cloud, outsourced IT gobbling up jobs
The cloud began to really take off during the mid-2000s as this seamless, almost magical thing that enabled you to store files and access them from any device at any time. And then platforms enabled developers to host their apps on the Web, and make them available from the browser. That's when things began to really unravel for many working in IT.
Nowadays, practically everything is hosted in the cloud. Thanks for everything, IT support staff. See you later, in-house infrastructure. Sayonara, security jobs. Now relegated to managed datacenters, there isn't much of a need to keep half the staff companies once had. And for those running call centers and other technical jobs: why not just outsource it to foreign climes? India's lovely this time of year. And the assembly line robots in China seldom complain about the long hours or the working conditions.
We have to face the reality that many jobs are now extinct as a result of outsourcing to the cloud. It's also created many — in reality, we're talking about a shift of jobs rather than the destruction of the job market, per se. But at least you can thank your bottom line (and management, which isn't going anywhere) for the emerging trend.
Image: James Martin/CNET
The multi-million dollar Obamacare site that didn't work
You would think that after several years and millions of dollars of investment, one single website might be able to cope with a good hearty slice of the population all visiting at once. Alas, no. Healthcare.gov crumbled on its first day, and almost everyone visiting was impacted by the government's worst IT snafu seen during Obama's second run in the Oval Office.
It's not just about keeping a website afloat. If Reddit, Imgur, Google, and the BBC News can stay up and running, so can Healthcare.gov, surely? That wasn't the problem. It was the backend infrastructure that failed. Databases weren't syncing, pages weren't loading, and forms were broken. Enter your data once, twice, three times, and for many it would slip behind the technology couch never to be seen again.
The American people were subject to the Healthcare.gov "beta test." Things should be ticking over nicely by 2014 when the Affordable Care Act is meant to really kick in. (At least, let's hope so.)