It’s been interesting to watch the power struggle between Microsoft and Apple and specifically between their CEO’s Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer (I had to include this). Two weeks ago Apple surpassed Microsoft as the biggest tech company.
Apple has capitalized on the Smartphone market with the iPhone and appears to be gaining a foothold in the tablet market with the iPad. Microsoft admittedly has been beaten in the Smartphone market by Apple as well as other competitors. They are on a mission to gain a larger share in the Smartphone market. The iPad is turning out to be a very popular device. Depending on your perspective the iPad is either a revolutionary device or a glorified Kindle. One thing is clear, Apple has developed a brand that is known for being unique and state of the art.
Jobs and Ballmer have different views on the future of technology; particularly the PC. Steve Jobs contends that traditional PCs will be used less and alternative devices such as the iPad or a SmartPhone will gradually begin replacing PCs. Steve Ballmer’s perspective is that PCs will change in size and shape and scope, but there will not be a drastic shift to alternative devices. See their different perspectives here:
Are the PC’s days numbered? Will devices such as the iPad or iPhone become the primary devices people use or will the PC remain their main device?
For businesses, it appears that the PC will not be going away anytime soon. Most businesses require the processing power of a traditional PC. Whether it’s an engineering firm running AutoCAD or a doctor’s office running an EMR application, an iPad or SmartPhone will not be adequate. SmartPhones and mobile devices such as the iPad do have their place in the business world. The need for SmartPhones is obvious with an increasingly mobile workforce. The iPad could conceivably become a useful tool in the healthcare field for doctors as they go from patient to patient.
The consumer market is driven by different factors than the business market. It seems to me that the consumer market is geared toward entertainment and making lives easier. Apple has definitely taken advantage of this market with the iPod, iPhone, iPad etc. In the consumer market, there does appear to be a shift from traditional PCs to more mobile devices. However, whether people will entirely give up their PCs for mobile devices remains to be seen. My guess is that people will still want to have a PC/laptop, even as mobile devices continue to grow in popularity. Until mobile devices can offer all the features and performance of a traditional PC/laptop, I believe they will be welcome additions, but not replacements, for the PC.
What do you think?
– Luke C. Neuman