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Cloud Computing: 'PC' Morphs from 'Personal Computer' to 'Personal Cloud'

By Dick Weisinger

Tablets are dealing deathblows to the PC. Gartner predicts dramatic slowing of PC sales and a rapid upswing in the usage of tablet and mobile devices.  Gartner goes so far as to predict that as early as 2014 that cloud services delivered on mobile devices will become the dominant form of business computing.  And by the end of 2013, 90 percent of all connected consumer devices will be integrated into cloud computing services.  While it’s clear that the next generation of computing will focus on mobility and the cloud, it’s  very hard to imagine that PCs will be swept away that quickly.  But Gartner identifies five megatrends that are converging, and which they say will lead to the realization of this prediction.

  • Consumerization of Technology [savvy users, social media, powerful and affordable mobile devices]
  • Virtualization [improved flexibility, increases reach of high-compute applications]
  • App-ification [changes in the way applications are designed, delivered and consumed]
  • Self-Service Cloud [anyone can scale computing resources on-demand]
  • Mobility [computing that is convenient, and available anywhere when you want it]

Andrew Johnson, Gartner managing vice president, said that “The shift to the personal cloud will accelerate rapidly in 2012 as consumers learn how to use new services on their devices. As cloud services become part of people’s lives, device vendors and platform providers must integrate cloud services in order to win customers in 2012 or risk being displaces by those that offer these services. Brands must stretch across multiple devices, platforms and services.”

Ranjit Atwal, Gartner research director, said that  “The evolution of the personal cloud will challenge vendors across all mobile devices markets and add to the hurdles for PC vendors to overcome to revive the PCs and differentiate them from tablets…  PC shipments will remain weak in 2012, as the PC market plays catch up in bringing a new level of innovation that consumers want to see in devices they purchase.”

Steve Kleynhans, research vice president at Gartner, said that “Major trends in client computing have shifted the market away from a focus on personal computers to a broader device perspective that includes smartphones, tablets and other consumer devices.  Emerging cloud services will become the glue that connects the web of devices that users choose to access during the different aspects of their daily life.”

Ray Ozzie, former Microsoft chief software architect , said that  “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.”

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