In I’m the PC: Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated I talked about the industry calling the PC dead and what I considered to be the reality of the state of the PC industry. Fast forawrd to 2014 and it seems that the trend I discussed is accelerating. The PC isn’t dead, but the growth is. A few days ago, Sony practically exited the PC market. Even though I have never owned a Sony PC or laptop, I felt sad realizing that things will never go back. The industry has changed and its affecting vendors and OEMs.
Intel some time ago realized that the industry had changed too quickly and stopped a fab that was under construction, deciding on retrofitting existing fabs instead, but just as I predicted, the demand for workstations for professionals seemed to help the situation.
In large part this is unavoidable. The PC industry was running for 20+ years on the same path. At some point, the gig is up, and the iPad was the beginning of the end . I realize this means layoffs, and that is tough. We can only hope that the market can absorb those who have been laid off and use their skills in the next phase.
Many people and companies are now jumping on the Internet of Things and Wearable devices wagon. Almost every major technology company is now working on a wearable device, a watch, or a fitness device. I’m not convinced. I do believe that wearable technologies will be important, but they’re not yet selling in any compelling way. For something like that to sell well, a customer has to see the value in it immediately. The customer has to basically say “If I don’t buy that I’m a sucker, because it solves a ton of problems, its cool and pretty affordable.” If the customer takes too long to decide, you know that the product has issues. I’ve yet to see a device get to this level. The problem is, some devices excel in one area, but have a small ecosystem. If Apple taught us anything is that you want to have a large eco-system that enables a device to have extended value across a variety of platforms. Google has realized it too and its Google services carry across multiple devices.
Finally, I want to discuss Google’s acquisition of Nest, clearly a foray into the Internet of Things. Nest has a recognizable name, a good brand that people consider high up, in no small part due to Tony Fadell. I’ve worked close to the Nest and can tell you its a beautiful device with a lot of thought and effort to make it great. It’s no wonder Google wanted to get its foot in the door this way. But, as news of Google acquiring Nest surfaced, many became concerned about their privacy. A thermostat capable of telling when occupants are present can provide an awful lot of information that can be useful in advertising, Google’s main revenue source. I’ve heard that some companies have canceled partnerships because of these concerns. Whether their concerns are justified is hard to tell. It would really depend on what Google would want to do with Nest. At the moment, it remains independent, but Google purchased it help its revenue and at some point will use for this purpose.