AAPL Stock: 118.88 ( + 1.13 )

Printed from

Microsoft: Windows tablets are catching up, PC still young

updated 02:15 pm EDT, Sat August 20, 2011

Microsoft maintains PC not middle-aged yet

Microsoft's Corporate Communications VP Frank Shaw maintained his defense of Windows again with a response to the upheaval of the past few weeks. Trying once more to downplay "post-PC" talk, he argued that PCs not only had some core features that only they could do but that devices like the iPad were losing the advantage. Tablets were just "companions," and computers were "rapidly and dramatically" improving on what these and other mobile devices were doing, Shaw said.

Elaborating, he also maintained that there was a split between what mobile devices and PCs could do. Both could communicate with others and consume content, but only PCs were doing a good job of creating content and collaborating with others. Those last two tasks were "central to the idea" of a PC, Shaw contended.

The executive criticized journalists and accused them of creating a situation where tablets could only 'kill' the PC, not simply act as a complement. The majority of the devices were simply bolstering existing technology, not replacing it. PCs as such were not only alive but young and still had ample room to grow.

"While it's fun for the digerati to pronounce things dead, and declare we're post-PC, we think it's far more accurate to say that the 30-year-old PC isn't even middle aged yet, and about to take up snowboarding," according to Shaw.

The argument that PCs weren't being hurt carries ironic but possibly deliberate timing. HP, in axing its mobile devices and seriously contemplating quitting the PC business, specifically blamed tablets for wanting to get out of traditional computers. The company is currently the world's largest PC builder and, while it may sell off the division to a competitor, is expected to disrupt the PC industry if and when a sale happens.

Most industry analysts, including those at Gartner and IDC, directly attribute the iPad and other tablets for a shrinking PC market across the majority of Windows manufacturers.

Devices like the iPad do currently face limitations in creating content, although some of this has been attributed to performance and relatively young operating systems rather than limitations. Most of Microsoft's attempts to catch up are centered not on the present, like Shaw claims, but on the future. Windows 8 is designed to give Windows tablets a genuinely touch-native interface for the first time and will support ARM processors, potentially giving them the battery life and thin profiles that Windows tablets don't have right now. The OS won't be sent to manufacturers until at least April, however, and is leaving Microsoft without true competition for as much as a year.

by MacNN Staff



  1. mherbson

    Joined: Dec 1969



    "Post-PC" ≠ "PC is dead." It simply means that the PC is longer driving the consumer digital device marketplace in terms of sales-growth potential and in terms of development. Similarly, the United States is a post-agrarian nation now, but it doesn't mean that the US doesn't have or need any farms.

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not learning from History

    Replace Tablet and PC with PC and Mainframe and you would have had a statement from IBM etc from about thirty years ago. I seem to remember somebody back then saying "The PC is fine for gaming and writing shopping lists but you need the power of a mainframe to do serious coding or editing or graphical work..."

    How many people you know have replaced a desktop with a laptop. The laptop of 1994 was not powerful enough to be a desktop replacement, Today for many, it is. Today people are doing basic photo editing and movie editing on iPads and their phones. This was something that needed a PC ten years ago and a serious Workstation or Mainframe twenty.

    Times move on. I suspect in ten years Tablets will be the most common computer platform and their abilities will outshine todays Laptops and probably todays PC. PCs will always be around, just as Servers will and even Mainframes. They'll just be a smaller and smaller part of the industry.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Spin Doctor

    This guy should go into politics. He really believes his own nonses.

  1. Torgeir

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Just wait...

    ... till he sees the iPad Pro!

  1. shaggudaddy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This fool is in total denial


    Joined: Dec 1969


    Dream on.

    The guy has no choice - he cannot abandon Windows. As far as Windows tablets catching on - yeah just like WebOS tablets caught on. Sure at some point Windows tablets will capture 10 to 20% of the market but they will be a small dissatisfied community of people who spent their money on a product that will not perform (basically windows has never performed).

  1. lvavila

    Joined: Dec 1969


    The WIndows attitude is so frustrating

    The tablet is nothing more than a PC companion. NO! My phone and tablet have replaced the PC for most of my non-programming needs. If I didn't code in C# .Net then in all honesty and seriousness ask, why do I need Windows anymore. Peek to the answer-----> I don't. Now if this guys is talking pure business, then yes the PC and laptop rule in a brick and mortar office.. In a mobile workforce is line is blurred. So maybe I should ask of this guy, what part do I maybe not get?

  1. davesmall

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Microsoft has a biased view

    Microsoft's top goal has nothing to do with advancing technology or providing an improved user experience. The top goal for Mr Softy is protecting the Windows franchise.

    They make a ton of $$$ by selling updates to very old software like Windows and Office. They want to maintain the status quo.

  1. climacs

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I sure hope he's not worried

    but I am pretty sure he is, he's just spinning. Mr. Softy must have shat his pants when HP kicked webOS to the curb. Imagine if some guy who bicycles on weekends decided to enter the Tour de France halfway through the race, and thinks he's going to catch up to the leader who is Lance Armstrong.

  1. godrifle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This guy's... in the clouds. Not *that* cloud...

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented