Could "Is Dead" Please Die?

Apparently the browser is dead again because Apple didn't see fit to make Safari available on a watch.

Because you know, the screen is too damn small. Nobody is going to browse the web on a watch. VMWare has yet to make a music player available for their virtualization appliances either, because nobody listens to music from rack mounted servers.

True story: I visited a mobile company a while back and constantly heard the refrain that "PC is dead" and "mobile is the future." I looked around, and every single person was working on a PC (or docked laptop). I guarantee you 90% of what this company does is done on PCs/laptops.

I know it's good click bait to announce the death of something. It sounds bombastic. It gets attention. But it's getting f'ing old.

When something really is dead, like COBOL or OS/2, nobody talks about it. You never see "COBOL is dead!" pop up on Medium or Reddit because announcing the death of something that is actually dead has no click bait value. But the PC? The web? Dead dead dead!

We call it click bait. Click. Bait. Clicks. Made with mice. On PCs. We don't call it "tap bait" or "swipe bait" or "finger bait."

Let me explain what is actually happening. The overall computing device market is growing, diversifying, and filling out.

As a result we see differential growth rates. Old things flatten out or grow slowly, and sometimes their markets get nibbled away at the edges as their niches become defined. New things grow rapidly because they're new and everyone doesn't have one yet and we haven't explored them as much.

Very little is actually dying.

The fact that something's stabilized does not mean it's dead. It just means it's stable... for now.

I'm going to make you a bet: PC sales, which have flattened or fallen in recent years, will pick up again.


The PC is no longer the "gateway drug" for computing. That now belongs to mobile, at least for most people in most of the world. The converged mobile device is probably the first class of computing device that will reach the entire human race, and that's a huge deal. It's why mobile is where (statistically speaking) most of the action is these days.

But gateway drugs are so called because they lead to other drugs.

The developing world is developing. As it does so, people are going to tire of trying to do everything on teeny tiny cramped screens. They're also going to want to create more and do more, and there are practical limits to what you can do or create on a smartphone just like there are limits to the portability of PC-class devices. Eventually these folks will want their next computing device. That next computing device is probably going to be either a PC/laptop or some kind of future "convertible tablet" device that is basically a PC/laptop.

The ultimate long-term secular trend in place here is a global explosion in silicon per capita. Mobile is just a part of that. PC is a part of that. Cloud servers are a part of that. Smart thermostats and toasters are part of that. Relative growth rates might change and cannibalization is certain to occur here and there as the market fleshes out and we figure out what is good for what.

So stop it with the 'is dead' hype and click bait please.

Caveat: Some of this "PC is dead," "mobile is the future," etc. hype comes from venture capitalists. For them, this is true. VC types inhabit a world where the size of X == dX/dt (its derivative, a.k.a. rate of change). If dX/dt is less than or equal to zero, then X might as well be zero as far as they are concerned. But if the PC starts to grow again, you'll see this refrain change instantly.

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