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  • Are personal computers dead?

    An article on cnn.com pronounces that the personal computer is dead. Year-to-year sales have fallen by 14% and hence the grim prognosis.

    Over the last forty years, both desktops and laptops have been major devices that have revolutionized individual productivity through word processing, developing spreadsheets, and creating presentations among other things. Ever since the advent of the commercial internet as a major technology enabler, PCs have been the primary devices to connect to the internet and seek information. In the process, the “productivity” and “connectivity” roles have been satisfied very well by the modern PCs.

    In the past few years, however, mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones fulfill the connectivity role extremely well. Still the productivity function is fulfilled by the PCs.  Searching / browsing / online shopping tasks that people did on the PC are now being divided among three different devices. More importantly, for consumers who want to search / browse and value portability and convenience, tablets and smartphones fit the bill perfectly. Hence the PC is becoming a specialist tool. Andrew Stein calls this concept rebalancing. Also, is it possible that people are using PCs for a longer time? There is no doubt that the PC industry is in the mature phase. But rumors of PC’s death appear to be greatly exaggerated.

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    Raj Echambadi
    Professor of Business Administration and
    James F. Towey Faculty Fellow and
    Executive MBA Academic Director