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'Of Course We Are In a Post-PC World,' Says Ray Ozzie 399

An anonymous reader writes "Speaking at a tech conference in Seattle this week, former Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie had some interesting things to say about the state of the computing industry. 'People argue about "are we in a post-PC world?" Why are we arguing? Of course we are in a post-PC world. That doesn't mean the PC dies, that just means that the scenarios that we use them in, we stop referring to them as PCs, we refer to them as other things.' Ozzie also thinks Microsoft's future as a company is strongly tied to Windows 8's reception. 'If Windows 8 shifts in a form that people really want to buy the product, the company will have a great future. ... It's a world of phones and pads and devices of all kinds, and our interests in general purpose computing — or desktop computing — starts to wane and people start doing the same things and more in other scenarios.'"
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'Of Course We Are In a Post-PC World,' Says Ray Ozzie

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  • by Kenja ( 541830 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:08PM (#39294205)
    "If Windows 8 shifts in a form that people really want to buy the product, the company will have a great future."

    From what I've seen, people will not be flocking to Windows 8 of their own free will. But the "good" news is that their will has little to do with it. New computes will come with Windows 8, and no doubt there will be some software feature tie ins that will require it. Much like Vista and DirectX.
  • You can have my PC (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:08PM (#39294211)

    You can have my PC when you pry it out of my cold dead arms.

  • by oodaloop ( 1229816 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:10PM (#39294237)
    Yes, say goodbye to your pristine mice and sanitary keyboards, which were never full of crumbs, hair and other disgusting detritus.
  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:13PM (#39294299)

    If they want me in Apple's (or anyone else's) walled garden, someone will have to drag my bloody corpse there. And even then I'll be fighting it.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:17PM (#39294365)

    Ray Ozzie has always been good at restating the obvious, and in people paying more attention to his statements than they warrant because of who he is (or was).

    Microsoft is still the power player when it comes to PCs, but it has yet to figure out how to become more than an afterthought when it comes to the devices people are using more and more instead of PCs.

    On a side note - I'd venture to suggest that the Slashdot crowd as a group hasn't really come to terms with this sea change that's occurring in the world at large. My tech friends - and myself as well - still use a computer more than any post-PC device, while my non-tech friends are mostly on their phones or iPads during their off-work hours.

  • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:18PM (#39294369)

    I'm sure there's a way for you to just not use the sides of a 16:9 panel.

    If a 16:9 panel costs less than the 4:3 that would fit inside it, what does it matter?

  • by starcraftsicko ( 647070 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:18PM (#39294373)

    I seem to recall we saw this a while ago: []
    Odd to hear it so clearly from MS now.

  • Re:Ruhroh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:18PM (#39294377) Journal

    I think Microsoft as a major player in the consumer market is probably going to fade. I still think they're going to be a major player in the medium-sized business and corporate world for some time to come. But as far as consumer devices go, they're so behind Apple and Android now that I just don't really see how they'll catch up.

  • by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:19PM (#39294383)
    No one is coming to take your PC. What Ozzie and others are saying is that previously you needed a PC for a minimal amount of functionality like email and web surfing. Smart phones and tablets are now good enough to offer that functionality. Thus manufacturers are rushing to provide this need. Those that don't recognize this trend will not be able to take advantage.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:20PM (#39294391)
    You know what is pristine and sanitary? My screen.
  • by Hoi Polloi ( 522990 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:25PM (#39294455) Journal

    And eyes ruined by squinting at tiny screens

  • Re:Ruhroh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:25PM (#39294463) Journal

    I think a lot of Microsoft's success with consumer-grade PCs has been because of their dominance in the business world. You go out to buy a home PC, you want the same sort of OS and tools that you find on your work computer. But that's only a thin veneer, not an absolute requirement, and now that you have a generation of technology users who have no particular loyalty to Microsoft or to PCs in general, it no longer means very much at all.

  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:30PM (#39294553) Journal

    And that's fine on the PC. But when it comes to tablets and smartphones, that edge is gone. Microsoft has gone this way before when it tried to take on iPods, and the general consumer response was to reach over Zune players to grab the iPod on the shelf. Though not a perfect analogy, it also resembles Microsoft's failure at making a successful web portal. The first thing most people did when they got a new PC was to change the home page from MSN to Yahoo, and then after Yahoo had faded away, it was Google. The same goes with consoles. The whole Xbox division has swallowed who knows how much money now? And it's only been very recently that the division has even turned a profit, though certainly not enough to pay the vast investment.

  • by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:30PM (#39294559)

    Exactly. I hate people getting their greasy fingerprints all over my computer screen almost as much as I'd hate them taking a dump in my kitchen sink. Separation of input and output has its advantages...

    Oleophobic screens only work so well, someone needs to come up with a better solution (and then a better garbage disposal).

  • They're fucked. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <taiki.cox@net> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:33PM (#39294583)

    I've had a small epiphany.

    I think the problem with Metro, is that I don't think that regular users think like Microsoft thinks they think.

    nearly 30 years of GUI development and most everyone I know still uses full screen apps and a ridiculously cluttered desktop.

    Don't get me wrong, I think on paper metro sounds amazing, especially with how apps interact with each other. Also on paper, iOS sounds completely fucking ridiculous, with just page after page of apps and no interaction.

    However, what I find myself realizing is that metro isn't how people want to interact with computers. It doesn't offer any advantages over Windows Explorer. It's too high minded and over thought out.

    It's going to bomb.


  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @06:37PM (#39294665)

    It's been a long time since I tried to read my keyboard.

  • by BasilBrush ( 643681 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:00PM (#39294983)

    Have you tried screen wipes...

  • by Attila Dimedici ( 1036002 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:05PM (#39295053)
    There are two problems for MS. First, they are not as structurally big as IBM was when IBM had their problems in the 80s. Second, MS is putting all (or most) of their eggs in the Windows 8 basket. I just cannot see Windows 8 getting much adoption in the corporate world. It does not appear to be a good environment for being productive. It seems to me to be an environment for consuming entertainment media.
  • by forkfail ( 228161 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:10PM (#39295113)

    And ruined posture because you either have a vertical screen for readability that requires you to always have your arms extended (and slows you down because of the time to lift hands from the keyboard a lot), or you wind up hunched over the thing.

    It might be nice for people who are doing certain kinds of photoshop work, or browsing the web - for those who write in any for a living, it's gonna suck.

  • by Nemyst ( 1383049 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:23PM (#39295257) Homepage

    DirectX at least has the advantage of being arguably better than the competition. Windows 8 doesn't even have that, and ironically its biggest competitor will be... Windows 7.

  • by Gilmoure ( 18428 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:41PM (#39295433) Journal

    We're already migrating large applications to Citrix wrapped versions that can be run on any OS and this is allowing us to transition not just our Office users but our engineers and scientists to thin clients and remote session setups. Network speed and network storage are now fast enough to make this a go.

    Pretty soon, you'll just use the hardware hypervisor to select the OS (windowing) system you like and all your apps will run in their own OS and no one will be the wiser.

  • Re:Ruhroh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:45PM (#39295465) Journal

    Considering the huge amounts of money Microsoft has thrown at its Xbox division, one could basically say they've purchased that market position. It has not translated into vast profits for Microsoft, and the obvious conclusion then becomes that for the bulk of the time the Xbox has been on the market, Microsoft has been selling it at a loss.

    Now maybe, in pure numbers that is a meaningful sort of statement, but if I were an investor, I'd be asking myself "Why hasn't it paid for itself yet?" I'd being asking the same question of Zune and Microsoft's various failed attempts at creating a dominant web portal. And it's looking like various iterations of the Windows mobile platform are leading in the same direction.

    At the end of the day, Microsofts fortunes are still tied to Windows and Exchange-Office, and where the big money in those divisions is in the corporate world. I'll wager a careful look would show you that the "Home" editions of Windows and Office probably do not make Microsoft any great profits at all, considering their OEM stuff is sold at a pretty steep discount as compared to the retail versions.

  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:49PM (#39295501) Homepage Journal

    What's stopping you from, say, firing up a word processor on an iPad (or Galaxy Tab, if you prefer), and using a Bluetooth keyboard paired with it, to write a novel?

    And thus transforming it back into a pc again? Maybe you could have a stand to dock the laptop screen in, emulating the pc screen, and then a pc mouse. 'Tablet' is just basically a form factor. By the time you've gotten it back to a form factor suitable for writing a novel, it's easier to look at it as a pc in a small case than a tablet with peripherals.

  • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @07:59PM (#39295589)

    To draw a transportation analogy (not cars, I'm afraid):

    The Industrial revolution was the Train Age. There was sudden availability of cheap, reliable transport across vast distances for both people and cargo. Trains came to symbolize the great advances that came with the industrial revolution, as well as enabling them. We are in a Post-Train age. That doesn't mean that we don't have any trains, it means that they're no longer the defining symbol of the age. They've faded into practical ubiquity.

    It's the same with the PC - the personal computer was the point at which the information age really took off. There was sudden access to cheap, reliable communication across vast distances. The PC has come to symbolize all the advances in the information age. When we move to a Post-PC age, it doesn't mean we won't have any, it means that they've become everyday items of practical, utilitarian uses, instead of the grand symbol they once were.

  • Re:Ruhroh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajlisows ( 768780 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @09:53PM (#39296565)

    Apple market share for computers is about 14% right now. If 14% of your users are complaining that they want to use a Mac at work just like they do at home, they will pretty much be ignored and considered quite annoying by IT departments.

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas