Greed Killed the Personal Computer


By Bill Pytlovany

Greed Killed the Personal Computer

I’ve read a lot of predictions about the death of the PC. Most of the articles assume the blame is due to the surge inthe use of tablets and powerful smart phones. If you’re seeing the same updates that I do you’ll agree the real death may be due to user apathy and greed.

In the early 80’s I remember a similar situation in a growing game market. Despite innovations in hardware a flood of poorly written, badly designed game cartridges killed the growth of gaming and home based consoles.

I’ve written a lot about the various ways software in the personal computer market is failing. It’s now obvious that I was forecasting the death of the personal computer as we now know it.

Last October I wrote about “The Dangers of Downloading Free Software”. The previous year I focused on “Dangerous Downloads on Legitimate Websites & Search Engines”

The New Business Plan, Installing Unwanted Software
A number of my posts have been warnings about unwanted software like toolbars. I have discussed the potential revenue I gave up in “Would you like Toolbar with your Software Order?” (Jan 2008) and “No, I Don’t Want Your #^$% Toolbar” (March 2009)

Recently, I actually begged people to remove a Java security risk and pointed out how Oracle was trying to install the Toolbar on each update of their flawed software. I had forgotten that even before Sun was purchased by Oracle they were pushing the MSN Toolbar and I included screen shots in my post “Sun Java Promoting Microsoft Toolbar” (April 2009)

Most friends followed my advice about current threats from Java but this week I am alerting friends that Adobe is updating their popular Flash program. I’m starting to sound like chicken little.

Article continued here

This post is excerpted with Bill’s permission from his blog

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6 thoughts on “Greed Killed the Personal Computer”

  1. I wonder how the concept of greed can come into play when one is talking about free software. Java, last time I checked, didn't cost you a dime to run/install/use. So how exactly do you think they are going to pay for making their software? At least you have the option to say no when they ask if you want to install "x piece of crapware" If you want software that is both free and has no crapware or ads attached to it then I'm not really sure how you expect to get it or where it will come from.

    As for planned obsolescence. I'm not really sure what you mean by that. There is nothing stopping me from running the same machine I built 13 years ago. What exactly makes a computer or software obsolete? The user is the only factor that determines that.

    As for running the latest greatest video games with better graphics than last year's, or other such things, that's all pushed by the consumer.

  2. I agree about GREED. However, it goes further than your statements. Planned obsolescence making it necessary ro buy expensive hardware and software every few years for just ordinary use. NO company will deal with that, especially since the recession and no individula will deal with it whne thye have other major purchases to consider – unlike teenage gamers. Stock holders may want profits but this is not a business that can support unlimited profits in my view. The auto industry learned this in the 1970s and may have to again.

  3. Yeah. People who say the PC is dying need a reality check. Yes, sales of PCs are lower because people are buying alternatives like tablets. Does that mean they are going the way of the dinosaur? Heck no.

    Reality: anyone who has ever had to type a long message or report can tell you that there are things that a smart phone or tablet cannot do well. As long as there is a need for word processing, nothing will ever replace a full notebook or desktop. This is especially true in the business environment. Attaching a full-size comfortable keyboard to a tablet is silly; it would take away from the whole portability aspect.

    Reality: the nature of tablets and smart phones calls for them to have tiny screens. Anyone who wants to be able to see more than one thing at a time, view multiple programs at once, or who is a serious gamer isn’t going to settle for a 7″ screen to do it.

    Reality: There are many things a tablet or smart phone cannot do. Apple tablets are especially guilty of that. Want to view a flash movie on a web site? Sorry, your iPad can’t do that due to the forward thinking at Apple.

    Reality: Oh, and that whole “Java is evil” thing ranted on in this article? There’s a darned good reason Java is still around after so many years. No one has ever come up with a better alternative that can deliver program functionality on any operating system. So you follow the “expert” advice and disable or remove it from your computer? Say so long to your favorite games and functions on Facebook, which requires Java for much of what it delivers since it has to be viewable from any given computing device.

    So yes, I categorize this article the same as Chris Pirillo’s prediction that printers were doomed. It’s garbage.

    Oh, and the dinosaurs? Still with us in the form of birds and reptiles. So much for that example, eh?

  4. Free software, even from TRUSTED sites, now comes with a multitude of crapware. Some of it is downright dangerous. Still, I think convenience and versatility are damaging. The probability you will buy a desktop rather than a laptop has increased. IF yo prefer computing on the go, a PC is probably your last choice.

  5. Tom & Julie Harris

    Ho hum…here we go again with another death of the PC garbage article. Same old worn out predictions using different reasons as to why it will come to pass. I’ve been hearing these dire rumors since the 90’s.

    It’s NOT going to happen. The computer will undoubtedly change due to technological advancements. But die? Not in the foreseeable future.

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