The PC is dead - long live the PC... and the PDA, the mobile phone, the thin client...

Have reports of its death been greatly exaggerated?
Written by silicon.com staff, Contributor

Have reports of its death been greatly exaggerated?

We've heard about the death of the PC before. Pundits have been predicting its decline for years - even more so this year, as overall sales fall for the first time. But it's unlikely to go away. Even five or 10 years from now, the PC will exist, albeit co-exist with various other devices. One alternative question to ask is does one - if any - of the big PC vendors stand to benefit more than others because of this trend? Consider the business PC market. It has reached saturation point and in these economically challenged times - even as post-Y2K PC upgrade cycles near - companies are in no hurry to buy more. And for accessing networks there are now a vast number of alternative platforms on the market - laptops, thin client terminals, mobiles, PDAs and even digital TVs. While this doesn't mean the PC will be replaced altogether it does mean people will be more selective about what they use it for. Why, for example, install a network of PCs if most of the workforce is on the move? IT departments increasingly look for a vendor that won't just sell boxes but a combination of platforms that meet each individual department's needs. Microsoft, once the great PC software company, has realised this. It's what its .Net strategy is all about. To ensure their future, PC vendors have to rise to the challenge. It will no longer be enough for them to shift products - Dell may be winning market share from HP and Compaq right now but that could well be a bitter-sweet victory if it doesn't start thinking about its services strategy. Until the HP/Compaq merger starts to deliver (assuming it eventually will) Dell has time to make the changes. Perhaps the point is that arguing about the PC's demise is the wrong thing to do. But that didn't stop us, we asked some guests of ours to do just that this week. On this week's Behind the Headlines, which will be on the site tomorrow, watch Richard Sykes, chairman of Morgan Chambers, Stephen Yeo, marketing director at Wyse Technologies, and Mark Lawson from Home Media Networks, give their views on the PC's fate. Wonder what they said?
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