Could cloud based solutions running on terminals replace the traditional office PC?
I recently made some comments on facebook on a topic about the future of PC’s and suggested that businesses will most likely move to cloud based solutions and ultimately away for the PC with its independent operating system.
I have many years in support and have managed two national help desks including 2nd and 3rd level support. I have also managed team rollouts of SOE’s (Standard Operating Environments) for IBM in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane. So I understand the cost of IT support and desire of a business to minimize this cost.
The office PC with its independent operating system is expensive to support and most users would prefer a simpler solution. We are already seeing this in the domestic market where the sale of tablets are mobile phones has exploded replacing the traditional desktop. I have made the prediction that the PC will disappear from most private homes in five years. It’s not just tablets and smart phones but also the new internet connected Smart TV’s.
The decision to abandon the traditional office PC may come just as rapidly. All it needs is a major player to come up with a terminal based cloud solution. These new terminals will be nothing like the original dumb terminal of thirty yeas ago. These will be more like the tablets of today.
I also made some comments about Microsoft and how if I had shares I would be selling them as fast as could. Their future looks bleak unless they can pull a rabbit out of the hat. Their main product is an OS which that has missed the mobile boat and lingers on a ever shrinking desktop market. Their other product is an Office suite that still has a huge user base but at the same time is not unique.
My comments predicting the demise of the PC in both the domestic and office environments was met with almost hostility by some. I was told I was dreaming when I said that business might move to cloud based solutions.
Today I saw a headline that the Queensland government has done exactly that. They have abandoned the traditional locally installed MS Office in favor of a cloud based subscription service. This will still be accessed via traditional PC’s but it does demonstrate that businesses are more than receptive to the idea of cloud based solutions.
In the same article the UK government have announced plans to drop Microsoft altogether in favour of open-source alternatives stating they wanted to move away from the small “oligopoly” of suppliers which had long dominated the market.
As I said I would not be holding any Microsoft shares right now. They are still one of the most capitalized companies in the world but have not demonstrated much innovation and always seem to lag behind technology.