31 December 2015

Cloudy PC Future

A post at the end of year should be about the future :). Guess wee all know how bad PC business right now, only goes to decline eaten by mobile device platform and more company start looking for an exit. At least what I always complain inevitably become a trigger. The conspiracy (or rather that's how business work) between hardware vendor and software vendor can't last forever. XP is one of the evident, how hard MS try to shut it down and yet Windows 10 sales has been predicted as "temporary relief" for PC sales' ongoing decline.

What happened to mobile device market now is "the re-invent process of PC in another form". Back in early 2000's I still read CPU speed war, even CISC vs RISC was relevant though most RISC died shortly killed by commodity x86 CISC then it was multi-core x86 war. Windows make it relevant by having more background services (bundling stronger firewall, AV etc), software framework has been in higher level with  more layer added after layer, all to make multi-core utilized. No doubt current mobile device usability is more or less like PC we have in early 2000s (but with more connectivity) thus still has huge room for improvement, more profitable. PC are stuck, x86 CPU makers either go green and challenge ARM or focus to server and cloud data services leaving high-end CPU/GPU to niche market such workstation (Scientific/Labs, 3D, HD-Video) and desktop gamers. How far general-purpose software company will "keep it bloated, keep it changed" I think it will backfired.

PC Software sales also declining, have been seeing more and more (supposedly) high-end software offered as freeware by misfortune or as a bait. For example Fusion, I wonder if youtubers will use it to enhance their video :-), MS even release (and to some extend discontinue) more freeware than ever before. All start to shift to services as the main revenue. However company such Autodesk (arguably monopolize 3D, CAD and DCC) may continue sell outrageously and less affected by declined PC demand so does Game publisher. With more commercial turned to freeware and more HQ opensource software available, these freebies will give commercial offering hard time in the future.

Cloud software is no less susceptible to conspiracy especially those company who own *both* online apps and browser technology (Adobe got AIR/Flash). They keep pushing the limit on their own pace, deprecating others on the way. Make sure the users believe they should make a switch and they bloat the software as they bloat their online apps so that hardware maker can make super computer solution for our colorful online "experience". It's the same business pattern again, won't be surprised if there would be a leaner and more standard solution by OSS but right now LibreOffice is busy conquering the traditional market.

Sometime we often forgot that most of the tasks we do are basically the same, only how we doing it that changed. Who knows if the old adage "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" will become louder? but generation always have their times, I meant nowadays it rather non-sense to ask youngsters if they can operate PC when they had android/iPhone to begin with. In world-wide context the kind of technology (tablet, smartphone or traditional PC) being adopted will get more diverse than ever, depends on what they can afford.

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