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Handhelds Windows Technology

Bill Gates: the Traditional PC Is Changing 552

Posted by Soulskill
from the long-live-the-pc dept.
Billly Gates writes "Bill Gates, in an interview with Charlie Rose last night, defended the move to Metro-ize Windows 8 and focus solely on the tablet experience (here's the video — tablet talk starts around 28 minutes in). When asked how traditional PC users will react, he explained that the world is moving into tablets, and a new PC needs to have both experiences integrated together. Also, he defended the move to build the Surface while charging his competitors a bundle for Windows 8. He says users have access to both experiences, whether it is a signature Microsoft one, or from an OEM. Is the a sign the desktop is dead or dying?" Gates stopped short of saying the traditional PC is dead, but dodged direct questions about its future. This is a big change to the stance he has advocated in years past.
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Bill Gates: the Traditional PC Is Changing

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  • Le sigh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:00PM (#40535983)

    Mobile computing is the future -- just ignore the battery life.

    • Re:Le sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by camperslo (704715) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:10PM (#40536085)

      The latest Intel chip will help considerably with x86 battery life.

      It is strange he talks about things being "integrated" when they've announced SEPARATE x86 and ARM tablets. And neither is binary compatible with their gaming platform (PPC).

      Except for Intel probably costing more, why should they need ARM at all? If Intel is now viable for mobile, it would have made more sense to switch the phone to Intel.
      Their eco-system is incredibly fragmented.

      • So these metro apps that run in a VM are somehow tied to cpu architecture? Did you not see Microsoft's intention to insulate themselves from x86 when they released .net? It's a very slow process but it is still rolling along.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sir_Sri (199544)

        The gaming thing is very deliberately a separate device designed to be a simplified streamlined experience. I'm sort of surprised they aren't doing a 'Windows Xbox' that's actually a fixed spec 86 PC that will then be guaranteed to play particular games.

        The ARM thing doesn't seem to make any sense other than to try and coax Intel into believing there is some serious competition from a different direction than AMD, and hoping they'll innovate (or at least use their fabs to overpower ARM).

      • We have heard that promise before, time and again. Time for show and tell.
      • Re:Le sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@gma i l . com> on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:50AM (#40538577) Journal

        Seriously what COULD the man say "Hey Ballmer is a dumbass but I'm not running the show anymore, sorry?" because if the guy honestly thinks the millions of people that use Windows for something other than tweeting twitting FB shitting social crap is gonna want their desktops to feel like giant smartphones he is seriously fricking stoned! Can you imagine trying to do photoshop, quickbooks, solidworks in that damned social tweety metro crap UI? Hell even MS Office isn't going metro!

        What he doesn't want to admit is what we retailers have known for years, that PCs passed "good enough" at dual cores and when quads, not to mention hexa and Octocores became affordable it went straight to insanely overpowered. The truth of the matter is even businesses don't replace units until they fail simply because, unlike the MHz wars when a 2 year old desktop would struggle to run the latest software, there just isn't a "killer app" that can stress the insane amount of power the average user has. Hell even bottom of the line netbooks like the E350 EEE I have can play L4D and Crysis, its just crazy how much power we have with X86 right now.

        Whether old Bill likes it or not wintel is a mature market and nobody wants WOA so he is just gonna have to suck it up and accept his fate. PCs will still be sold by the millions, they simply won't be bought by most until their last one dies. Their retarded Win 8 strategy is gonna bomb HARD because this is what I have been seeing at the shop [youtube.com] only with more frustration and cursing. originally i thought they were going for the teener/tweener crowd but those that played with it in the shop said "I already HAVE a cell phone, this is lame" so if that's the market he's going for it a failwhale.

        Accept it Bill, MSFT will NEVER be king of the hill again. You left the sweaty monkey in charge, who sat on his ass until mobile passed you by, now you have nothing to offer that folks can't get better from Google and Apple. Maybe after Win 8 goes over like a turd in a punchbowl he'll get the clue and get Ballmer to split off the mobile division because frankly that is the only chance they have at mobile, just cut them loose from the Windows name and X86 legacy and hope they can carve a niche like the X360.

        Because if Bill honestly thinks the public is gonna accept some giant icon, touch UI designed flip screening mess on their non touch desktops and laptops I have a magic bean factory he might be interested in, only $20 million Billy!

        • by jedidiah (1196)

          > there just isn't a "killer app" that can stress the insane amount of power the average user has

          Sure there is. There's Plex, AirPlay, and Handbrake.

          These are the things you use when you have to accomodate the pisspoor performance of an ARM tablet. I am using one of these tools right now to transfer some TV recordings to a mobile device.

          People don't realize just how pathetic ARM is, or they try to shout you down when you bring it up. ARM is like going back to the 90s and that's before people thought "it

    • Re:Le sigh. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:25PM (#40536255)

      Mobile computing is the future

      You say that like it's a bad thing.

      It's not. You just gotta look at it right.

      First, the rise of tablets and the decline of the traditional PC will if not kill Microsoft, at least knock it down to a shadow of its former self. They exist solely because of their monopoly in Windows, and Windows is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

      Second, it's a Star Trek future! Your mobile device will fit in a shirt pocket. It will be able to feed you information through a glasses or even contact-lens HUD. When you need to enter a lot of information or use a large display, it will talk wirelessly to a keyboard and monitor... all from your shirt pocket! Voice commands will also improve beyond where Siri is now.

      The very near future beings shirt-pocket computing more powerful than Star Trek tricorders and communicators. It frees us all from being bound to one spot in order to compute and game and browse.

      The future is bright. Don't sound so glum bro! It's a true integration of computing and life, in a way we've never seen before. The next 10 years during this transition will be exciting indeed.

      • The very near future beings shirt-pocket computing more powerful than Star Trek tricorders and communicators. It frees us all from being bound to one spot in order to compute and game and browse.

        One thing I don't see very often on shirt-pocket computers is a keyboard for entering large amounts of text or a gamepad for controlling a video game character. A completely flat touch screen is no substitute, as Intellivision II owners learned in 1983 [wikipedia.org].

        • One thing I don't see very often on shirt-pocket computers is a keyboard for entering large amounts of text or a gamepad for controlling a video game character.

          One thing you often see on shirt-pocket computers is bluetooth.

          • by Rakarra (112805)

            One thing I don't see very often on shirt-pocket computers is a keyboard for entering large amounts of text or a gamepad for controlling a video game character.

            One thing you often see on shirt-pocket computers is bluetooth.

            Sweet, battery vendors will be making a killing.

      • Re:Le sigh. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rtkluttz (244325) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:58AM (#40538617) Homepage

        It's all part of the game to KILL PC's. Everyone wants part of the action of devices locked to a captive audience. Metro, Markets... no thanks. I'll retain control of my own devices. If anyone ever creates a tablet device that I don't have to hack to make it mine, then I'll buy into the hype. I just wish more people understood what they are losing with these types of devices.

      • If the technology was adopted in a form respecting the privacy of people, I would agree with you. But it is not the case and the more those devices can, the more private and public entities attempt to track us. Contrary to US slashdotter I don't mind public tracking, because we effectively limit it by law and (unless it is police stuff) we can check what we are tracked for and correct data (Privacy law and right to correction in EU). Heck they might be people spying onto us, but they are our LOCAL thug obey
    • Re:Le sigh. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @10:50PM (#40537383)

      The first generation GSM phones also lasted barely a day (and being a phone, for them battery life was even more critical than for tablets/laptops).

      Later generations lasted for weeks - and subsequently battery life disappeared from advertising. Now current-generation smartphones take a serious step back on those battery lives, it's still generally good enough to not be an issue.

      Tablets and laptops now have the battery life issue, but there are plenty of devices already on the market that advertise to last 8-12 hour on battery power alone. Even if in practice it's 6-8 hours, it means we're getting close to full day battery life (12-16 hours is enough for most purposes).

      The display is the biggest obstacle; we need a fast-refreshing reflective colour screen, doing away with the backlight saves heaps of power.

  • Apple? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PPH (736903) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:02PM (#40536011)

    I don't see Apple shoving a grand unified UI down the throats of its tablet, laptop, and desktop users. And I don't see Apple users complaining or getting confused by tablet gestures vs keyboard/mouse operations.

    How about we just standardize on the iPod? Put one wheel on the front of everything and be done with it.

    • Re:Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:07PM (#40536053)

      I don't see Apple shoving a grand unified UI down the throats of its tablet, laptop, and desktop users.

      Really? Every time they update OSX it becomes more like iOS.

      • by Tom (822)

        Can't see that.

        They port individual features across the OSes, true. But I've owned iPhones ever since the original iPhone 2007, that's almost 5 years now. My desktop OS X experience hasn't changed all that much. A few features, yes. A few changes to common apps such as address book and iCal, not all of them I applaud. Launchpad is new, but I never use it (Alfred does a better job on an iMac) and it's not forced on you in the least.

        In fact, the main common feature seems to be that the Mac has an App Store to

      • Re:Apple? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by itsdapead (734413) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @04:15AM (#40539329)

        Really? Every time they update OSX it becomes more like iOS.

        They are pulling over individual features that (mostly) make sense on laptops with small-ish screens and large, multitouch trackpads, plus some cosmetic/layout changes that are not really tablet specific. Most of these features can either be ignored or turned off in Preferences.

        What they're not doing - unlike Microsoft and some Linux distros - is forcing everybody to use the iOS "desktop" with the traditional desktop a second-class citizen. Yes, they've added "launchpad" and "Full Screen" mode (which would be better described as "tablet mode") but you can just ignore them if you have a huge monitor. On an 11" Air, they make sense.

        Plus, Macs are uniquely set up for using gesture-based interfaces - all their laptops have, for some time, featured the biggest, nicest trackpads in the busines (the first time I've not felt the need to carry a mouse around) and, for the desktop, there is the Magic Trackpad (which, provided you turn on the three-fingers-to-drag option, I find excellent for everything short of gaming and graphics work).

    • I don't see Apple shoving a grand unified UI down the throats of its tablet, laptop, and desktop users.

      Some Apple Mac applications are being switched to the iOS version (like the Airport utility) and previously iOS only applications are being added to Mac OS (like iMessage in Mountain Lion). The direction is there, but not yet a unified UI.

      And I don't see Apple users complaining or getting confused by tablet gestures vs keyboard/mouse operations.

      With the magic pad and mouse, Mac users already are familiar with gestures on a desktop OS.

      • Re:Apple? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Ol Olsoc (1175323) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:26PM (#40536269)

        With the magic pad and mouse, Mac users already are familiar with gestures on a desktop OS.

        Yes, we are. And it's taking something that works pretty well on a tablet, and trying to port it over to a larger device. Some times it works, others, not so much. My Magic mouse has features that are kind of cool, but some, like the swipe between pages can be very frustrating, and have to be turned off .

        But it's a weird sort of logic that some people think that what works and looks good on a 4 inch screen is going to be the same as what looks good on a large monitor. For years, computer people have fixated on a monocultural universe. And I dare say it is mostly the Windows people - no insult intended there, but as the largest user base, it's not surprising they think that way. But here we have Gates saying in essence, "Fuck you and how you think it should run! We say it is going to be like this and you will use it!

        I love my pad, and I love my desktop and laptops too. But I sure as anything do not want the Pad and the other devices to have the same look and feel.

        And I feel strongly enough about it that Windows 8 will not be on any of my computers. The Preview edition was enough to tell me that.

        • Re:Apple? (Score:5, Informative)

          by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:17PM (#40536711) Homepage

          My parents have a Magic Mouse, and it's kind of nice. Most of the features are turned off, so it's hard to say how great it is.

          But when I got a new iMac at work last year I asked for a Magic Trackpad, and I think it's amazing. I don't think it would work well for running Photoshop, but for non-image work it's great. Over the last few years I've gotten so used to using the gestures on my MacBook Pro to go forward/back in Safari, trigger Expose, and show the desktop. I use the forward/back gesture constantly.

          Being able to do that on my desktop has been such an improvement. When I'm surfing I don't need to reposition the mouse to click on the back button, I can just swipe. When I want to change programs I can just swipe and then click on the window I want. It really is nice.

    • Re:Apple? (Score:4, Funny)

      by Anderu67 (1179779) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:10PM (#40536095)
    • Don't use Lion, do you? It is moving very much in the direction of iOS. Read this [gizmodo.com] article. It is rather inflammatory, but the guys makes an interesting point. There is no VP for OS X development listed in Apple's leadership team after Serlet left. He was the one responsible for OS X versions 10.4-10.6, which were the best ones (IMNSHO). If you spend some time talking with long time OS X users, you'll find tepid enthusiasm for 10.7 at best and worst, rabid hatred. Read the comments in this [macworld.com] OS X hint on
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:11PM (#40536103)

    Some people browse the web on iPads now. This is approximately the only piece of evidence I've seen that the PC is "dying".

    We all still have a PC in our office to do real work. People write code, write papers, design things, run simulations, SSH into servers, work with complicated spreadsheets and databases, run custom software applications, etc. When there's any sign at all that most of that work is moving onto tablets, then it'll be reasonable to start saying the PC is dying.

    • The basic problem is that the screwheads in sales and marketing are looking at Apple's sales figures for iPads and comparing them to their own PC sales. But they're not realizing that tablets are a new market, or they think that they can tap that market by making the PC more like a tablet.

      The basic issue is this:
      1. Everybody who wants a computer and can afford a computer already has a computer. Additionally, computers have been Good Enough(TM) for about the past 5 years, so you're only going to sell a new

  • Hey, Look! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:19PM (#40536201)

    It's like that time in the 1990s when Bill Gates discovered the Internet several years later than everyone else...

    But it's Bill Gates, so some people listen and think he's said something profound!

  • by Spacejock (727523) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:20PM (#40536211) Homepage
    If the PC is dead, what are the developers writing dinky little games and apps for your shiny new tablets going to use? Have you tried designing a gui with gestures? Typing 150,000 lines of code on a touchscreen? Sure, you can attach a bluetooth keyboard and mouse ... as long as the batteries hold out.

    In addition to that, if PC gamers wanted a braindead machine they'd get a handheld or a console. The sort of games I enjoy need a mouse, keyboard and very large screen. Tablets have their place but they're no substitute for a real computer.
    • by k(wi)r(kipedia) (2648849) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @10:03PM (#40537069)

      If the PC is dead [...]

      I think this is what you call a figure of speech. It encapsulates in a few words what will probably take a paragraph or more of explanation. Perhaps it's better phrased as "the PC is dying" or more prosaically: "The phenomenal growth in the market for personal computers is levelling off and is expected to go down. It's even possible that the total number of PCs will go down in the near future."

      So is the PC dying? What we have are a few indisputable trends. There are now more cellphones in the planet than there are PCs. The percentage of cellphones that can somehow connect to the Net are increasing. Smartphones today are more powerful than the typical desktop from the Windows 95 era, arguably the turning point when the PC migrated from the office to colonize the home market.

      The only thing missing for the smartphone to replace the PC is the consistent ability to connect to input-output devices that are taken for granted in the PC world. Support for keyboards and external pointing devices is iffy at best. Support for printers and large monitors is even more dismal. But these issues are being addressed (some of the pricier smartphones now have HDMI output).

      Developers and hardcore gamers don't count in the post-PC world. Developers weren't a large breed to begin with. For them the PC will become a niche product, just like mainframes. Hardcore gamers will always have their consoles.

      Yes, the tablet is no substitute for a real PC. But superior technology don't always win out. Microsoft should know this better than any other gigantic tech company.

      • by jez9999 (618189)

        This all comes down to what you define a PC as. If you're talking about the form factor of the hardware that humans don't need to interact with then, sure, maybe it will become the size of a grain of sand one day. However, I think it's a pretty safe bet that if you're talking about a PC as consisting of certain human interface devices (a real keyboard, a real mouse, a good sized monitor), they're *never ever* going to be replaced by a tablet because they're fundamentally more human-ergonomic for many comp

  • they pry the last one from my cold, dead fingers.

    Or nuke me in my bunker. Same diff.

  • by gemtech (645045) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:25PM (#40536257)
    When I'm designing stuff (mechanical, schematic, PCB layout), I need a desktop computer: good optical mouse, comfortable chair, big monitor, full-sized keyboard, fast/loaded computer. I have tried to do that on a tablet or notebook, it's not even close. I agree with Spacejock, there is no replacement when you need real development.
  • by Junta (36770) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:30PM (#40536315)

    The premise that Metro is a forgone conclusion for the way a tablet/phone experience succeeds is a poor one. The market has not shown that to be true. I figure Win8 is their move to try to force the issue and gain some traction by effectively throwing the desktop market under the bus, since they don't have to worry about losing those to competitors by and large (Vista proved that in relatively modern history).

    I've always hated hot corners, and Windows 8 demands they be used a lot. Both in the annoying 'mouse happened to go to a corner of a screen, do something without user 'clicking' anything' and the somewhat more forgiveable hidden UI element to click on and do things. The hotcorners aren't as bad as the 'activities' hot corner of Gnome 3, but I find it a questionable choice, *particularly* in the context of touch interfaces where hot corners don't even have their 'auto-find' aspect that people like so much.

    The jarring difference between 'Metro UI' and Desktop applications is unfortunate. It's especially bad where you have two 'Internet Explorers" that behave very differently. OSX full-screen really did this right, the full-screen app management pretty much let's the apps be the same in windowed and fullscreen mode, and just tweak the navigation/task switching.

    The search feature is 'hidden' (a common theme in the Metro interface) as there is no visual indication of it's availability. For a keyboard user, I consider this minor, but wonder how it plays in a tablet UI, where typically a text field is a cue for virtual keyboard. More annoying is that the search by default hides all but 'Apps' results, meaning you have to note the non-Apps categories count when searching. Worse yet, that summary will auto-hide, leading you with no UI indication of actual results that you actually want.

    All that said, conceptually there is one thing I think is nice about Metro and Gnome 3, the general concept that when you do 'Start' or 'Activities', that the entire screen real estate is dedicated to the action. I kind of prefer Gnome 3's view over the Metro start (the former giving better consideration for task switching rather than just launching).

  • by linebackn (131821) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:37PM (#40536391)

    I get it now. He says the PC is changing. Because he (well, Microsoft) is going to MAKE it change. Change to a locked down environment that can only run Microsoft approved OSes. And do things the Microsoft way. And you are going to like it because they will spend bazillions in marketing dollars making everyone think it is the best thing since sliced bread.

    Count me out.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:43PM (#40536445) Journal
    May be the PC is changing. And may be this is where money is and this is where highly amortized commodity mass market devices are heading. But I am glad our company kept linux support alive. Our product does heavy duty scientific computing and number crunching. Traditional mainframe/unix support was the mainstay. One by one our platform makers succumbed. Cray fell. Then SGI irix tru64. Then DEC alpha. Then HP-UX. Then Sun-Solaris. We were forced to switch to Windows as the main development environment. They took command line batch build away in Ms-Dev 4.0. We laboriously converted our nice Imakefiles and makefiles and home grown scripts that will build on PC from Imakefiles to vcproj files. Then they brought it back in Ms-Dev, but our Imakefiles and scripts were irrecoverably damaged. We were forced to use mainsoft for porting. Then mainsoft broke up with Microsoft. Some idiot in Remond thought "no executable is going to be built using more than 10000 source files!" And his monkey of a manager approved. Our builds broke.

    Through it all we persevered. A few of us were preaching separating "GUI from kernel" "event driven code from procedural code". And we pulled extra hours to practice what we preached. Fellow developers from MS world randomly included afxwin.h deep inside non graphical kernel library code to add a one line debug statement, broke the linux builds and threw tantrums when called to fix the offending code, "it is working in Windows, so it can't be my problem. You fix it in Linux". We suffered all these indignities and got our product to build and run in Linux all the time. We no longer have a 3 month delay in releasing linux version.

    Now this. Good riddance. Let the windows and its market dominance and its subsidizing the computing platform go chasing the tablets or whatever. Before Wintel monopoly we had 90% revenue fro unix sales, it dropped to 10% at the height, now linux is back up to 40%. If they cram the win-8 interface down the throat or make our software to be sold through appstore or something, our windows version sales will have no place to go but down. Finally sanity will return. We will separate content from presentation. We will separate gui code from non-graphical code. We will separate event driven code from procedure libraries. Vindication at last.

    • Good luck finding affordable hardware on which to run X11/Linux after the economies of scale leave the PC market.
    • Now this. Good riddance. Let the windows and its market dominance and its subsidizing the computing platform go chasing the tablets or whatever.

      I suddenly realized that Microsoft actually has a useful purpose: they keep PC hardware cheap so I can install Linux on it. Maybe we need them just a little while longer.

  • by addikt10 (461932) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:46PM (#40536467)

    Dear Apple :
    Microsoft believes that the PC is dead.
    Would you please go ahead and release your OS for generic hardware?
    Or simply release a mid-tower box. Good enough for me.

    Signed : A Lover of PCs

  • by xs650 (741277) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:46PM (#40536469)
    Windows 7 will soldier on until MS replaces 8 with a useful PC OS. Just like XP did when Vista bombed and MS needed a couple of years to replace it.
  • by Dunbal (464142) * on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @08:46PM (#40536479)
    "that the world is moving into tablets" actually means "we want to move the world into tablets".
  • by transporter_ii (986545) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:10PM (#40536649) Homepage

    We have to put out our own tablet, because our OEMs can't build a competitor to the Kindle Fire and sell it for 199.00 if 80.00 dollars out of that 199.00 is for our OS.

    Microsoft can't release a 700.00 tablet. Anyone going to spend that much money would go for an Apple product. The logical entry point to sell a lot of them is on the low end, and guess what...the OEMs can't meet the low end price point and use Windows 8.

    This may not be the year of Linux, but it could be the year it backed MS into a corner.

    • This may not be the year of Linux, but it could be the year it backed MS into a corner.

      How could this not be the year of Linux with a million Linux phones hitting the streets a day?

  • Don't get it (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:21PM (#40536747) Homepage Journal

    Where the hell is everyone going that the personal computer has to suddenly become "mobile computing"? I move around more than most people and despite my best efforts, I still can't find anything so freaking important that requires a computer while I'm going from point A to point B. I mean, I really want to justify the price of these tablets, but besides playing a few not-so-good games and watching some movies, it's just shopping and reading. Are any of those things so crucial that the entire world of personal computing has to be transformed into "mobile computing"? The reading thing is nice, but how "mobile" can you be when your battery doesn't even last half a day?

    I hear a lot about how "mobile computing is the future" but I still don't understand the "I'm always on the move" part and I need that computer while I'm moving" part. I mean, I understand it, but not enough that the entire world of personal computing has to change.

    I think what Mr Gates really means is "computers are for shopping, instead of making". I have yet to meet someone who has produced anything meaningful on a smartphone or tablet.

    And does it matter to Mr Gates and the Zombie Steve Jobs that there are still a lot of us who actually want to make things with our computers and would actually like a nice powerful machine with a big screen and full-size keyboard? Maybe a couple of cool interfaces and controllers? A desk full of control surfaces, a variety of interface devices, good sound reproduction and display technology?

    Why is it that whenever one of the god-kings makes a pronouncement like this I seldom feel that the actual desires and needs of consumers are being taken into consideration? It's all about what they want for us - what they think we should have.

    Remember how we were all going to have netbooks? How tablets are the new black? Well, couple years have gone by and they're still just shopping interfaces and metered toys.

  • by MpVpRb (1423381) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:40PM (#40536867)

    I DON'T WANT A TABLET

    I DON'T WANT A TABLET

    I DON'T WANT ANYTHING LIKE A TABLET

    I don't care if the marketoids think it's the future

    I DON'T WANT A TABLET

    Have I made myself clear?

  • by Spit (23158) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @09:49PM (#40536947)

    Gates isn't saying that we'll all be using tablets, but that for the vast majority of users, convergent devices are more convenient and suitable.

    Workstations will become niche as per servers, but they will remain. The trend started half a decade ago when notebooks started outselling desktop PCs.

    • Gates isn't saying that we'll all be using tablets, but that for the vast majority of users, convergent devices are more convenient and suitable.

      Bill Gates' predictions have an illustrious history of nearly perfect negative correlation with actual trends since the mid nineties.

  • by deweyhewson (1323623) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @10:56PM (#40537437)

    *sigh* Another "IS THE PC DEAD?!?!?!" headline, another dollar. People who try to view tablets as "desktop replacements" are consistently missing the fact that tablets are not PCs, are not intended to be PCs, and aren't going to replace PCs.

    For many people, they may even totally replace the need to have a typical computer at home. If anything, it is only for this group of people that the PC will be "dead".

    But for anyone wishing to do serious work, so long as the PC remains exponentially more powerful, expandable and capable than tablets, it won't be going anywhere. Go try using Photoshop Express on the iPad, then use CS6 on the desktop. Use any of the multitude of word processors for tablets, then go use Word. Use a mobile browser, then use Firefox or Chrome. Play the popular games on a tablet, then play the popular games on a PC. Do you see where I'm going with this?

    Tablets have created, and filled, an entirely new niche in computing, and done so very well, but they aren't PCs.

  • by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday July 03, 2012 @11:29PM (#40537647)

    I see Microsoft today, and I see a company that has no idea what it's doing. Well, I don't claim to know what is best to do, but I'd at least aim for consistency.

    I'd thought about making an Ask Slashdot based on this premise, but I probably will never actually do it. So here's what *I* would do if I ran Microsoft.

    Windows. Still a good product, at least on the desktop, but the brand keeps getting diluted, and attempts to "re-imagine" it or "re-invent" it simply will not work. On the desktop side, you really don't NEED to change much. Just keep focusing on making the existing experience incrementally better. Try to get boot times down to under a second, make it more stable, little improvements like that.

    Windows Server? Can it. Windows Server is so far behind *technically* that it's not even funny. The only reason it's used is because a) it's far easier than Linux, and b) Microsoft. (B) won't last forever, so you know what? Give up. Give up a bit of control. Make the next Windows Server a Linux distro.

    BUT

    Don't do it like every other Linux distro.

    The theme should be "it all works together seamlessly". Port Active Directory, port Exchange, port Microsoft SQL, port ASP.NET and everything (make sure it runs as Apache or nginx modules, though. IIS itself is a "maybe"). Wrap it all up in a GUI that makes things easy to figure out - your goal should be that you don't even need a manual. But don't ignore the command line and config files. Make the best damn Linux distro you can, and *sell* it.

    Yes, sell. Obviously, anything open-source should stay open-source. Maybe even open-source the stuff that lets others integrate with you - AD stuff, .NET, and so on. But the big stuff? Keep it proprietary, and sell it. And not ridiculously overpriced, either.

    In fact, hedge your bets on the desktop side as well. Port the Windows desktop environment over to Linux, because trust me, KDE and GNOME are fucking things up right now, and the Windows desktop experience is actually *better*. You don't even have to make it natively X11, just include an X11 library so all the old apps still work (like how OS X does it). And release for free tools that make Linux integrate well with Windows, stuff to EASILY integrate with AD and such. Yes, open-source stuff can do most of this already, but those are both a pain, and not supported by Microsoft.

    Windows Phone? Drop it. You aren't going to win unless you have the apps. And WP7 does not have the apps. It does have some good ideas, though, some very good things. So you know what you should do? Take Android, and mod the shit out of it. Put Office on it. Make it integrate with Active Directory and Exchange and all that shit, so businesses will love it. Make it work with the Xbox and whatever else you've got. And license it out to whoever wants it. Make it "Android, but with ___, ____ and ___". Still compatible with the millions of Android apps, but it has several that, at best, you'd have to buy on the marketplace; at worst, simply not available.

    The Xbox is one of the few things Microsoft's not just doing well, but is recognized as doing well. This is your new Big Brand. Make a new Xbox, price target $400-$500. It should be a powerful core-gamer machine. Let Nintendo have the low-end market with the Wii U. And make it more than a game console - you're doing well already, having Netflix and all that on there. Keep that up. Make it work with your WinDroid phone systems, both as a Wii U-like display for the console, and as a remote for Netflix and such. This way, you aren't just fighting Sony - you're also fighting Apple TV and whatever that Google thing is called. Keep backwards compatibility, maybe add a Blu-Ray drive (even if the movies aren't selling so well, it is good for games). But don't do anything crazy. Just... incremental improvements. Make one device that does the task of many others, well enough that it isn't a compromise, and cheaply enough that it's an option if you only actually want one part of it. Yes, that's

  • please, Bill (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday July 04, 2012 @01:40AM (#40538521) Homepage Journal

    ...stop trying to be a visionary - you aren't. Your record on future predictions equals that of the world cup animal oracles.

    Sure the PC will change - it always does. But the world isn't "moving to" tablets, it is adopting tablets. Most tablet owners also own a PC and for that reason alone don't want the two to be identical. One tool for the one job, another tool for a different job. Some people are happy with just one of the two, that's fine, too. Yes, some people now use a tablet instead of a PC because what they used to use the PC for is better done by a tablet, there just weren't any.

    MS more than anyone should know this. Their second cash cow is MS Office, after all - something that nobody really wants on a tablet for any serious work. Sure, the iPad office apps (Pages, Numbers, Keynote) are bestsellers - because people want to read and update their documents on the road. But it is not only my own opinion that serious office work doesn't get done on a tablet. And if you need business numbers, look at the sales figures for notebooks and netbooks. Not exactly dead in the waters, are they? So even in the mobile computing market, there's still an interest in real computers in addition to tablets.

    MS is missing the boat - again - because they are so out of touch with what the users want. That's the true secret of the Apple success - the give people something they want, sometimes something they didn't even know they wanted. Sure, it's a "our way or the highway" offering, but MS still thinks they dominate computing so much that they can get people to follow them anywhere - and that hasn't been true for a decade.

    • Your record on future predictions equals that of the world cup animal oracles.

      If Bill Gates was as good as that squid it would be a massive improvement.

  • Sure, it's good that you can take it everywhere. But the problems are:

    * Small screen is hard to see.
    * Input is difficult for large amounts of text, and there isn't the precision for doing things like graphics & photo editing.
    * Poor battery life.

    The solution would be to mount good quality peripherals to some kind of frame or harness that you leave at home or the office (maybe have one at each) and you plug your tiny portable into it. It'd be almost like a proper computer!

    If you think of the portable as like a ship sailing from port to port, then the harness could be called a "mooring terminal" or something like that.

    Nah, it'll never catch on.

Machines that have broken down will work perfectly when the repairman arrives.

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