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Spinning Out of Control, the "Post PC" Crowd Has Got It All Wrong

Just a heads-up for the partisan bloggers at Wired: If the term "post-PC era" isn't spin, then neither is "PC Plus era". Both terms come from the school of "when you make hammers, everything looks like a nail." That is, to companies that have failed in the PC market (Apple, still with less than 5 percent market share) or simply have never shown up at all (Google, whose Chromebook looks to be off to a less than stellar start), well, sure. It's the "post-PC era." Of course it is. Because that makes their own products look better by comparison.

But when you're Microsoft--a company that has and continues to dominate the PC market--you look to the future and you see something that is probably a lot closer to reality: A ton of PCs, plus a ton of other mobile devices (smart phones, tablets, and so on). And thus the name "PC Plus era" not only makes sense to Microsoft, it kind of just makes sense.

But not to Tired. Er, ah. Wired.

Criticizing Microsoft's view that we're entering the PC Plus era and calling it "spin", Wired says that the term "post-PC" is scary to Microsoft, because its "bread and butter" is providing software to traditional PCs. You know, Windows, Office, and so on. Well, duh. Though I'd argue that the world's leading supplier of software, period, probably has some plans to sell their wares on newer platforms too.

But whatever. My bigger concern is about this so-called "shift towards the tablet platform," as Wired calls it. Shift? What shift? The consensus is that all "media tablet" makers this year (read: Apple, and a few companies that make iPad-like devices) will sell about 40 million devices this year. That's one-tenth the size of the far more mature PC market. Which, despite its size and age, is still growing. In fact, the PC market is expected to grow 5 or 6 percent this year.

And if you accept my contention that as tablets mature as they inevitably must, and as PC evolve too to take on the best aspects of the tablet devices (instant on, great battery life, thin and light form factors), as they inevitably must, then the future suddenly looks pretty obvious, doesn't it?

It's called a PC.

But Microsoft, being more polite, simply calls this future the PC plus era. And no offense to Wired, but that prediction seems a lot more believable, and a lot more realistic, than one in which the PC is just pushed to the side as we all supposedly race to abandon these wonderfully versatile and useful computers we're apparently saddled with right now.

So the only spin I see here is from Wired and the "post-PC era" crowd. That's spin. The future of computing is mobile and highly connected, sure. But many of those devices, and virtually all of the non-smart phones, will almost certainly be what we today call PCs.

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