The PC is broken: Time to fix the business model or quit

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  1. Berton's Avatar
    Posts : 5,877
    Win10 Home and Pro, Win10 Insider Preview, WinXP Home Premium, Linux Mint
       16 Sep 2016 #10

    Mystere said: View Post
    The problem PC makers have is that, in general, PC's are as fast as they are going to get. Performance only increases marginally year over year. And for most people, PC's are already plenty fast for their needs.
    Haven't been hearing much about development of 128-bit computing the last few years.
    Microsoft Working on 128-bit Windows
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  2.    16 Sep 2016 #11

    Not Myself said: View Post
    Perhaps someone ought to inform Intel about this, as they don't appear to be aware of the "Sky is Falling" situation:

    Intel boosts outlook on surprising PC sales |
    Precisely...and this is nothing new for Intel lately, either. (I feel like '"chaw'in" for a bit so please pardon me ) The company has had several "record-breaking" quarters recently for its *desktop PC /Laptop PC components* businesses. And it's not just Intel. nVidia has released many new discrete desktop GPUs; AMD is doing the same, and in a couple of months AMD will be back with us again on the high-end of the x86 CPU marketplace--ZEN looks to be a humdinger. No way on earth would AMD or nVidia or Intel be doing all of these products for a shrinking, dying market... I am especially looking forward to the price wars AMD will bring back to the high end of the x86 CPU markets--If AMD comes out with cpus that meet or exceed Intel's current $1k cpus but AMD is selling them for half that price (and this appears to be exactly what is happening!)...that's going to light a fire under the x86 desktop CPU marketplace like we haven't seen since AMD knocked Intel's socks off in the early part of the century with Athlon and then the A64...! This will be great for all of us! I don't know of anyone who prefers or thinks he prefers Intel cpus right now who would be bothered by a huge price cut in those Intel cpus, eh? Exciting times ahead, starting in the next ~90 days! Glad to see AMD back under competent management again!

    --The industry temporarily lost its marbles back about the time Jobs (RIP) was pushing the iPad and cell phones as the "post PC" era... Some people weren't distracted by all the silly hype and fuss--like Intel--which kept its course steady and wasn't as badly hurt as some companies--but Microsoft, with that silly Win8 debacle made a wrong turn--and AMD's management took a wrong-turn, too--branching off into very-low profit, very-high-volume mobile markets like ARM, etc,--when AMD should have stayed to compete with Intel in the x86 CPU marketplace, and Microsoft should have built on top of it's best-selling OS in history--Windows 7! But--and we could talk about these things for days!--there's just no accounting for just how *bad* human managers can be at their jobs, sometimes, is there? Win10 is essentially what would have happened had Microsoft built on top of Win7 and eschewed Win8 (Metro, etc.) completely, and ZEN for AMD is precisely where AMD has needed to be for the past couple of years--so I'm very glad about all of that.

    What might've happened to the industry if both Microsoft and AMD had *failed*--can't even imagine that, really--but I think we came much closer to it than I've ever seen. It didn't happen--of course!--but mistakes like that...well, many companies don't survive them--take Apple, for instance. Had Apple not essentially jumped completely away from PCs (Macs) and not diversified into cell phones--Apple would not be here today. No doubt about that whatever. Apple went from 100% dependence on its PC business (Macs) to essentially a 20% dependence on its Mac/PC business and a 70% + dependence on its cell-phone businesses--and if that had not happened Apple would be gone. Microsoft, otoh, could never do that because it's PC OS business, in contrast to Apple's, was and is a huge success. SO basically, what works for Apple won;t work for Microsoft and vice-versa, because the companies are entirely different with far different strengths and weaknesses. Apple's always been about hardware, primarily, whereas Microsoft is a software company. Either company's management becoming confused on those points would be dire for either company, and it almost was for Microsoft, imo.

    Apple Computer--the old Apple, is dead and gone, but some semblance of the original Apple Computer is left, and for Apple fans that's got to be a positive. And if Yahoo! had been smart enough to jump @ Microsoft's insane offer of $40B+ for the Yahoo! search engine--instead of the peanuts it is now selling the same businesses for to another company--I am not at all sure that *Microsoft* would not have bought the big one...! Ballmer made *so many critically expensive mistakes*! Billions to Nokia in a terrible decision to blindly copy Apple's iPhone move--at least $10B sucked away there...Windows 8--another horrible mistake Ballmer made in copying Apple's iPad tablet--which was a fad and even now is coming full circle back to its initial starting point*--billions of $ gone there, too! If not for Yahoo!'s essential stupidity in turning down Ballmer's insane offer--well, it could have been curtains for Microsoft, believe it or not! Just delighted that Microsoft got rid of Ballmer and Sinofsky--it was close.

    In talking about markets contracting and so on, it's most necessary that we understand how critical the management decisions in all of these companies is to not only their individual bottom lines but also to the markets in which these companies are major players. Like the PC gaming marketplace--which is a combination of many product markets created by many different companies--not simply just a gauge of raw supply and demand. When these mistakes in management are corrected and the markets set out on a constructive (not conflicted) path, it's possible that the future growth of the PC desktop marketplace might far outstrip the so-called halcyon desktop markets of the early days! IE, I think it is very likely that the best is yet to come!
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  3.    16 Sep 2016 #12

    Given that the Laptops of today easily have the processing, video, and storage capabilities of desktops of only a few years ago, it's no wonder that desktop sales are stagnating or falling off.

    I have a desktop that is five years old. Runs a 6-core 64-bit processor at 3.2GHz, has three flat panel displays connected to it, a two-drive external drive dock connected via USB 3.0, a separate USB 3.0/2.0 hub for other devices, and a really nice Gaming keyboard that is rugged as all get out. I'm quite pleased with it!

    Then recently, my son's old HP desktop died and he replaced it with a new Lenovo desktop. Once I got to look at it, I had a hard time NOT drooling! Native USB 3.0 ports -- lots of them. Latest Intel i7 core processor. Large SSD already included. Win10 Home included. HDMI, DisplayLink, HDMI ports included. 64GB DDR4 memory included.

    But then, I realized that my DDR3 memory is not much slower than his DDR4. I already have USB 3.0 expansion cards in my PC. It's already running Win10 PRO, not Home. It already has a video card with DisplayLink ports. And I've moved over to using an SSD for the OS a while ago.

    So, while my OLD PC is certainly NOT up to the performance of his brand-spanking NEW one, I'm also not pressed with spending $1000 to make up the difference in performance.

    And, I know other folks who would rather buy some add-in cards to expand their systems, than spend similar amounts to get new desktops.

    Laptops are different in that, generally, they are NOT upgradeable -- so folks buy new ones every few years to get the newest hardware features.

    As to the comment in the article about adding touch and speech -- the first has already been done with lots of the new laptops sporting touch screens. But as to speech, Dragon has been messing around with that for MANY years, and operating your PC by talking to it simply has never caught on. I tried that with a Microphone and my desktop a while back, and found it to be more trouble than it was worth. A few well-placed shortcuts were far more useful than having to remember commands to "dictate" to the PC.

    And nowadays, ALL my kids have tablets and use them all the time. You can't walk into a coffee place without seeing a veritable sea of tablets. So, yeah, THAT's where the market growth is going.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  4.    16 Sep 2016 #13

    All too many people don't understand that current performance is no indicator of future trends. People who buy high and sell low learn that lesson the hard way (ask all the people buying over-inflated houses in 2006, the market looked great to them).

    Of course a bubble bursting is something that catches a lot of people.

    As Tablets and Phones become more powerful, more and more people need fewer PC's. Who would have thought that almost nobody would own a land line telephone 10 years ago? Who could have predicted that you could watch TV on your phone and that Streaming cable services would actually surpass network television to those devices?

    Hell, I blame the decline in book sales (both paper and e-books) on phones, because people are no longer bored. I used to crack open a book when I was bored as a teen and young adult. Now, everyone starts playing candy crush or swiping left and right. They're huge time sinks without much redeeming value (unlike books). Unless it's a huge mega-hit like Harry Potter or Game of Thrones, nobody wants to read it anymore, and publishers aren't interested in promoting things that aren't going to sell tons of copies.

    Desktops ARE dying, and while there might be short-lived spikes due to new technology releases, it won't last.
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  5. TechnoMage's Avatar
    Posts : 352
    Win 7 Pro/32, Win 10 Pro/64/32
       16 Sep 2016 #14

    For years, I built PC's, that could run off and hide from what was selling in the Big Box Stores, but I don't do that anymore, except for myself. Now I like to pick up old PC's that other people and even computer shops have thrown away, and I refurbish them so that they run faster than they did when they were brand new.
    I now have 14 desktop PC's and five Laptops and they all run much better than they did when they were brand new.

    I cringe, when someone comes on a forum crying that their PC is running SO SLOW. Every speed secret that I use, is out there floating around on the internet. Using those tweaks, I can double the speed and efficiency of any stock PC, or Laptop.
    Slow PC's are either the result of ignorance or laziness. I can fix the ignorance, but not the laziness.

      My ComputerSystem Spec

  6. lehnerus2000's Avatar
    Posts : 1,802
    W7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), LM 19.1 MATE (64 bit), W10 Home 1703 (64 bit), W10 Pro 1703 (64 bit) VM
       16 Sep 2016 #15

    Mystere said: View Post
    Desktops ARE dying, and while there might be short-lived spikes due to new technology releases, it won't last.
    I look forward to seeing phones/tablets with 50"+ screens.

    Developers are still going to need multiple giant monitors.
    Most IDEs are ridiculously difficult to use on a single monitor, even if it is 1920x1080.

    Try creating sequence diagrams (using something like StarUML) on a 1280x1024 monitor.
    It's an awfully painful activity.

    When I look back over the past 30 years, I can't believe I was able to anything useful on the tiny monitors we used to have (e.g. 320x200).
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  7.    16 Sep 2016 #16

    Yea, lot to be said for decent screens and keyboards. And no batteries/charging.
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  8. Fafhrd's Avatar
    Posts : 1,929
    Windows 10 x86 14383 Insider Pro and Core 10240
       17 Sep 2016 #17

    The problem is surely:

    What to use these devices for?

    Either it's all been done already in terms of "Killer applications", or programmers have grown fat and lazy on IDEs that at the end of the day produce 2-bit apps to put on various platform "Stores" that the essential feature is you can run them on your phone.

    With 64-bit address spaces and 8GB RAM and more storage than you can throw a giant redwood at, there's no need for ingenuity in programming, like there was when you had to fit your both OS and program and live data in 4MB RAM and save it all to a 1.44MB floppy when done.

    It's not that there aren't clever folk out there, there's just nothing left to be clever for.
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  9.    17 Sep 2016 #18

    One needs to be wary when talking about PC gaming...

    It is true that PCs trump consoles, however, it breaks down into PC (desktop & laptops) vs mobile vs console. The desktop is still king for gaming, with about a 55 PC/ 45 mobile split. But the money numbers don't really talk about hardware, but rather software sales. So when one says gaming is increasing, yes that is true, but PC desktop sales are still on the decline and the forecast is this trend will continue.

    Also, I suspect the number one upgrade for most gamer's are graphic cards, this is what rules gamer's, not new machines or OS. At least it is for me.

    Just to be clear.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  10.    17 Sep 2016 #19

    lehnerus2000 said: View Post
    I look forward to seeing phones/tablets with 50"+ screens.

    Developers are still going to need multiple giant monitors.
    Most IDEs are ridiculously difficult to use on a single monitor, even if it is 1920x1080.

    Try creating sequence diagrams (using something like StarUML) on a 1280x1024 monitor.
    It's an awfully painful activity.

    When I look back over the past 30 years, I can't believe I was able to anything useful on the tiny monitors we used to have (e.g. 320x200).
    Developers are a tiny fraction of the PC using population, as are others that are Desktop dependent, such as CAD/CAM designers. However, one need only look at the Surface Pro to see developers using this for real development. One can cast their screen to a 50" TV quite easily, or plug into a dock to use a keyboard and mouse with multiple monitors.

    In fact, I use a Yoga 900 regularly for software development.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

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