The long, slow, fictional death of the PC


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In 1997, during my second year of university, I bought my first personal computer, or PC. A sleek, black Compaq Presario with a handy internal 14.4 modem. While I enjoying playing many hours of Civ II between writing the odd term paper, little did I know the PC had actually died years earlier.

And now, 16 years later, the PC is still dying. Or dead. According to some, anyway. So pretend the PC you’re probably reading this on is a mirage as we share decades of so-called experts predicting its demise.

Published in: Technology, News & Politics
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The long, slow, fictional death of the PC

  1. 1. The long, slow, fictional death ofthe PCIn 1997, during my second year ofuniversity, I bought my first personalcomputer, or PC. A sleek black CompaqPresario with a speedy internal 14.4modem. While I enjoyed playing manyhours of Civ II between writing the oddterm paper, little did I know the PC hadactually died years earlier.And now, 16 years later, the PC is stilldying. Or is dead. According to some,anyway. So pretend the PC you’re probablyreading this on is a mirage as we sharedecades of so-called experts predicting itsdemise.By Jeff JedrasImage courtesy of bandrat at
  2. 2. “The personal computer died thismonth. The personal computer may turnout to be like the horseless carriage,whose effect on our expectations wasgreater than its impact on our lives. PCusers day-dreamed of electroniccottages and global villages but settledfor word processors and spreadsheetsinstead.”- NY Times column by futurist PaulSaffoOctober 13, 1991
  3. 3. “A PC is a ridiculous device; the idea isso complicated and expensive. Whatthe world really wants is to plug into awall to get electronic power and plugin to get data.“- Oracle CEO Larry Ellison to the IDCEuropean IT ForumSeptember 4, 1995
  4. 4. “The PC era is over. This is not to saythat PCs are going to die off, any morethan mainframes vanished when theIBM PC debuted in 1981. But the PCsreign as the driver of customer buyingdecisions and the primary platform forapplication development is over.”- IBM CEO Lou Gerstner in thevendors 1998 annual report1999
  5. 5. “We’ve been in the post-PC era for fouryears now.”- Sun Microsystems president JonathanSchwartz to the New York TimesDecember 4, 2004
  6. 6. “The PC is dead. Rising numbers ofmobile, lightweight, cloud-centricdevices don’t merely represent achange in form factor. Rather, we’reseeing an unprecedented shift ofpower from end users and softwaredevelopers on the one hand, tooperating system vendors on theother—and even those who keep theirPCs are being swept along.- Jonathan Zittrain, in the MITTechnology ReviewNovember 30, 2011