All the stories that keep appearing about the “death” of Windows, Microsoft, and the PC itself are a lot of excessive Sturm und Drang. The stories are mostly link-bait, blinkered thinking, tech journalists looking for something to write about, or vested interests trying to boost their product.
Of course, it is the very big increase in the use of mobile devices like tablets and smartphones that causes all the speculation about the end of the old dominance. There have been plenty of posts on this blog about the explosion in mobile platforms. But PCs and Microsoft are not going away any time soon.
All the statistics about the decline of the market share of PCs that you keep seeing are certainly true. The fraction of computing devices made up of PCs has been shrinking. But the total number of computing devices keeps growing. That means that the absolute number of conventional PCs is still very large. Shipments of new PCs may be down slightly but the number of PCs is not falling off a cliff, The worldwide number of PCs may even be growing since no one knows how many older units are still in service.
The PC may no longer be the sole platform but it certainly remains a major one. As Steve Jobs once put it, the PC is a truck and mobile platforms are cars. Why can’t the industry accept that the model of one platform to serve all purposes is absurd in a world with billions of technology users with a vast multitude of needs and technical skills. All this wailing about the death of the PC is silly. The tech world just can’t seem to get untied to mama Microsoft’s apron strings. Note that all the tears are about devices with Windows 8 not selling well. The fact that tablets and smartphones without Windows are doing fine is not considered good news.
Although sales of PCs in conventional form factors are down, computing devices are more popular than ever. A big factor is price. The Wintel ecosystem clings to monopolistic pricing practices but we have finally reached the point where consumers have some choices. Non-Windows tablets in the several hundred dollar range are appearing. Given options and prices not dictated by the Wintel monopoly, consumers are turning to new platforms.
Nonetheless, Microsoft, Windows, and PCs remain a very large presence. As bad as Microsoft and Windows have been for the consumer, we are still stuck with their out-sized, often baleful influence.