Technalysis Research
Previous Blogs

September 30, 2014
Tablet and Smartphone Futures: Specialization

September 23, 2014
Is the App Ecosystem Sustainable?

September 16, 2014
The Wearable-Identity Connection

September 9, 2014
The Password Dilemma

September 8, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk--Driving Flash Forward

September 2, 2014
Smart Connected Devices: A New Forecast

August 26, 2014
Phablets—aka Pocket Computers—Drive New World Order

August 19, 2014
Device Usage Diversity

August 12, 2014
New Life for the PC

August 5, 2014
Hot Items for the Holidays: Large Phones, Notebooks and Smart TVs

July 29, 2014
Smartphones: Life's Remote Control

July 22, 2014
The Joy of Vintage Tech

July 15, 2014
Digital Generation Gap

July 8, 2014
Virtualization Reborn

July 1, 2014
Portable Digital Identities

June 24, 2014
The Future of UI: Contextual Intelligence

June 17, 2014
Moving to Markets of One

June 16, 2014
Insider Extra: Dell and the Battle for Business

June 10, 2014
Screen Overload to Drive Screen-less Devices

June 3, 2014
Apple Drives Vision of Seamless Multi-Device Computing

May 27, 2014
Surface Pro 3: The Future of PCs?

May 22, 2014
Insider Extra: SanDisk: The Many Faces of Flash

May 20, 2014
The Technological Divining Rod

May 13, 2014
Computing in the Cloud

May 6, 2014
Device Usage a Question of Degree

April 29, 2014
The Next Smartphone Battleground: Durability

April 22, 2014
BYOD: A Work in Progress

April 18, 2014
Insider Extra: AMD Back in the Groove

April 15, 2014
The Mobility Myth

April 9, 2014
BYOD Dilemma: Devices vs. Data

April 8, 2014
Insider Extra: Qualcomm's Evolving Story

April 1, 2014
A Wearables Forecast

March 25, 2014
Measuring Success in Wearables? It's Thousands of Thousands

March 24, 2014
Insider Extra: Intel Strategy Moves Forward

March 18, 2014
IOT: Islands of Isolated Things?

March 11, 2014
Wearables Cautionary Tale

March 4, 2014
The New Platform Battle

February 25, 2014
Watch What Happens

February 18, 2014
Talkin' 'bout Touchpads

February 11, 2014
The MultiOS Conundrum

February 4, 2014
Computing Redefined

January 28, 2014
The Apple Problem

January 21, 2014
The 2-in-1s People Might Want

January 14, 2014
The Post Tablet Era

January 7, 2014
The Innovation Asymptote

December 31, 2013
Top 5 2014 Predictions

December 17, 2013
Holiday Shoppers Gifting Themselves

December 10, 2013
Companion Apps

December 3, 2013
Aisle Check

TECHnalysis Research Blog

October 7, 2014
Is Windows Still Relevant?

To say that the past week has been an interesting one for the PC market is one heck of an understatement. Between Microsoft’s first official preview of Windows 10 and HP’s announced split into two companies, there has been an enormous amount of hand-wringing and questioning about the future state of the PC market.

Not surprisingly, that’s also led to a lot of questions about Windows, given its still very close ties to PCs. Many reporters I’ve spoken with have basically asked, given the challenging conditions PCs face, is Windows still relevant?

My short answer? Absolutely.
First, let’s address the PC question. Though 90% of the tech industry seems intent on burying PCs while they’re still alive, the truth is, they are still alive. In fact, they’re showing signs of coming back to life, which I’m defining as no longer declining. (Hey, remember, flat is the new up.) We’ll know more next week when third quarter shipment numbers are announced, but given all the research I’ve done, as well as the upbeat reports we’ve heard from component makers and PC vendors, I’m willing to bet the PC story is going to be decent.

Plus, in a strange way, some of the bad news we’ve seen about tablets recently (flat to declining sales, etc.) could prove to be good for PCs. What’s implied in that news is that tablets are not going to take over PCs for most individuals, so those people who’ve been holding off on upgrading their existing PCs for fear that PCs won’t be relevant anymore, can now go ahead and upgrade.

Given the big HP news from earlier this week, it’s somewhat ironic that one of the more upbeat PC companies of late has been HP. In their last reported quarterly numbers released in August, their PC shipments were up an impressive 13% year over year. Not bad for a “dead” market. Additionally, even though many have tried to read a negative PC story into the news, HP’s announcement doesn’t mean that they’re questioning the future of the PC market. In fact, you could even make the argument that it’s the exact opposite. The truth is, it’s much too early to tell exactly what the impact (if any) HP’s announcement will have on either the near-term or even medium-term outlook for PCs.

So, let’s turn our attention back to Windows 10. I’ll start by making the argument that Windows 10 is what Windows 8 should have been all along. Instead of bifurcating into two distinct environments with a confusing model for working and switching between them, Windows 10 looks to leverage everything that’s good about the familiar Windows 7 interface, along with some of the genuine enhancements that came with the Metro UI of Windows 8. Again, it’s a bit early for final pronouncements here as well, but what I’ve seen so far is definitely encouraging.

Of course, the unfortunate implication is that Windows 8 set the PC industry back a good two years and it’s going to be difficult to catch up. While there may be some truth to that argument as well, I think it’s far from a lost cause. PCs still play a critical, if not always central, role in many people’s digital lives, so the fact that a new option that brings them back up to modern expectations is set to launch is very good, and important, news.

Microsoft has even bigger plans for Windows 10. Their goal is to be able to scale the UI intelligently from phones through tablets up to large-screen monitors attached to PCs. While that’s still going to be a challenge to do well, in some ways, it may not be as much work as it first appears because I’ve always felt the pure Metro UI actually works better on smaller screens, so there isn’t as much to change there.

The bottom line is that both Windows and PCs are still relevant in an increasingly mobile world. The role that all tech devices play is evolving and Windows-based PCs are changing too, but they continue to play an important role in both commercial and consumer applications and will continue to do so for some time to come.

Here's a link to the original column:

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