At this year’s CES two unthinkable things happened:
1. The abandonment of Windows exclusivity by practically all of Microsoft’s OEM customers.
2. The abandonment of Intel exclusivity by Microsoft for the next generation of Windows.
Many of Microsoft’s customers chose to use an OS product from Microsoft’s arch enemy. Some chose to roll their own. Microsoft, in turn, chose to port its OS to an architecture from Intel’s arch enemy.
These actions confirm the end of the PC era. Although most people would characterize the era as exemplified by a particular form factor or market, for me the definition of that era is the way the value chain was structured and hence how profits were captured.
Now Horace is a very smart and data driven person and this is a primary reason I enjoy his blog. But in this case, he chose to ignore the fact that Microsoft in the same CES announced that Microsoft sold 240 million Windows 7 licenses in just over a year and that these are still selling like hot cakes with over 7 copies a second. Also, many of Microsoft OEM partners have been looking at other OS’s for some time now. Earlier with Linux and now with Andorid. The option of getting something supposedly for “Free” is hard to ignore. As for the second part, Microsoft’s move to ARM is a step in right direction. This only means that Microsoft is getting more serious about coming up with better Tablets and Mobile devices. It will only mean the era extends.