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More Reader Reactions: Microsoft and 'Peak PC'

  • Read the first part of reader reactions here.

A few more readers are weighing in on my column "Is the 'Peak PC' Period Over for Microsoft."

One thinks I'm a clown for even asking whether we're at peak PC or PC pause:

"Peak PC." A joke right? And a poorly thought out one, at that.

Most small businesses have consistently upgraded on a 5- to 7-year cycle in economic good times and SMBs still haven't seen a recovery. (Statistically, small businesses of 25 or fewer employees employ half of America; 26 to 100 employees another 25 percent; and 15 percent government.)

Median business upgrade of XP was around 2005 and median for Windows 7 was around 2011. (So median for Windows 8 will be around 2017?)

Note, in the hoopla about XP: The fact that Server 2003 will continue a few more years (i.e., NT5.2 codebase updates will continue) lessens the urgency, a fact that "ID10T" people at Gartner, IDC, et al. aren't smart enough to figure out.

Also consider that Vista/Server 2008 was NT6.0 codebase; Windows 7/Server 2008 R2 was NT6.1 codebase; and Windows 8/Server 2012 is NT6.2 codebase -- not an appealing argument for upgrade. If you have "partner" access to Microsoft's knowledgebase, you will note that XP bugs "to be fixed in 6.1" are still present in Windows 8 (NT6.2 codebase). So Windows 8.1 will be NT6.3 codebase or NT6.21. Either way, most of us will wait for a true code refresh from Microsoft before considering upgrades.

Not just Windows: Note that Linux fanboys also wait for kernel updates before upgrading.

And what is the installed base of SBS? Most of our Small Biz customers have upgraded SBS 2003 to SBS 2011 Standard recently or are going without a Microsoft server. Office 365 is not a substitute for "Exchange Lite." (And Exchange drives Outlook drives Microsoft Office sales.)

Meanwhile, Ian argues for a third way and coins his own law:

Sorry if I'm coming late to the party, but the answer is, "Neither." We're at "PC Morph"! The PC has morphed from desktop to something more portable. The "something more portable" as we have it now handles some new use cases very poorly...and the tablet is the response. But the tablet hasn't really defined itself yet. Is it a super-smartphone, a dumbed-down PC or a portable media portal (or something else, they were only "forinstances")?

[Ian's] Law No. 2 (I'm feeling arrogant this morning) has just been defined and says, "Devices consolidate to meet the maximum number of use cases achievable at a given price point." I suspect for a while there will still be a hunger for distinct business and consumer devices, but that eventually there will be a single consolidated "something else."


Posted by Scott Bekker on June 06, 2013


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