The 30th anniversary of the IBM PC is Friday, and the two companies most responsible for its success both explained how they’re moving on today.
IBM engineer Mark Dean, who was on the team that built the first IBM PC, says the PC era is basically over. He’s proud he was involved — but he’s also “proud IBM decided to leave the personal computer business in 2005, selling our PC division to Lenovo.”
Dean says that he has switched to a tablet (he doesn’t say which one, but odds are it’s an iPad), and that the PC is going the way of “vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs” — which echoes what he told us back in March.
Microsoft’s PR head Frank Shaw is a little more optimistic: he prefers not to call this the “post-PC era” because 400 million personal computers will still ship this year.
At the same time, he notes that Microsoft began expanding beyond the PC some time ago, and points to the company’s software running on the Xbox, phones, embedded devices like ATMs, and to services like Bing, Office 365, and Xbox Live. He points to the company’s upcoming BUILD developers conference, where developers will hear about how Microsoft has “re-imagined Windows, from the chip set to the user experience, for this new world.”
It’s true that Windows 8 stands to be one of the riskiest and most important Windows releases Microsoft has ever done. But it’s still primarily a PC operating system, and Microsoft still gets most of its revenue and profit from PC software — Windows and Office. So although IBM has moved on, the PC era is still alive and well in Redmond.