Remember the Apple vs. Microsoft wars? Mac vs. Windows? iPod vs. Zune? iPhone vs. Windows Phone? Well, it’s about to become a different war altogether. No, it’s not Apple’s iPad vs. Microsoft’s Surface, though it may look that way, uh, um, on the surface.
No, it’s Post PC era vs. the PC+ era.
When Apple’s Steve Jobs introduced the iPad way back when, he said it ushered in the Post PC era. In effect, PCs, including the Mac, were passé. Desktop computing and notebook computers were the past.
The future was handheld and mobile. iPhone and iPad.
Unfortunately, no one told Microsoft about the news that PCs were passé, the past, finished, a dinosaur. Now we have word that Microsoft is all upset over Steve Jobs’ predictions and they’re calling Apple’s savior a false prophet.
I’m tempted to list our prophet’s prophecies and compare them with those of Bill Gates, but it would take too long to compile a list of Jobs hits, and I just can’t think of any that Gates predicted.
Regardless, Microsoft’s COO, a suit named Kevin Turner, says:
“We believe that Apple has it wrong. They’ve talked about it being the post-PC era, they talk about the tablet and PC being different, the reality in our world is that we think that’s completely incorrect.”
Turner calls it a PC+ era, because, well, you know, PCs is all that Microsoft does well, and they don’t want to be left out in the handheld mobile device arena (where, as you’ve probably noticed, they’re left out).
Oh, and Turner said that the PC+ era was predicted by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates back in 1999. So there. Wait. Just to be sure, does anyone have a link to the quote whereby Bill Gates calls the future the PC+ era?
So, what’s going on? Are we living in the Post PC era, or the PC+ era? The answer may depend on whom you ask.
To be fair, PCs are not going away anytime soon, either Mac or Windows. What’s changing is what is getting used the most. Computing has begun the trek from the PC era of desktops and notebooks, to the handheld mobile era of iPhones and iPads.
Microsoft is completely left out in the Post PC era, but they’re driving a stake in the ground to support the PC+ era which is related to the legacy PC era. So far, Microsoft has demonstrated about the same amount of success in the PC+ era as they have in the Post PC era.
How’s Windows Phone doing? Microsoft had to pay billions to Nokia to get the beleaguered former smart phone leader to use Windows Phone. How’s that working out? Bill Gates pushed the tablet PC about 10 years ago, but it took Apple to do it right, selling more iPads in the first year than Windows tablets in 10 years.
Wait. What about Microsoft’s new Surface tablet? Isn’t that the best of both worlds a bridge to the PC era that connects to the PC+ era? It’s a notebook and handheld tablet, right? It’s Windows and something new and different which requires more learning and new apps, but that’s OK, because I can use Windows on it (well, one of them) until the apps show up. And they will. Yes, they will. Uh huh. Sure.
I learned a long time ago that sales makes the world go ’round. Steve Jobs was not a fan of sales executives, but he loved to sell products that were so cool people would stand in line for days to buy.
When people start standing in line to buy the Surface, and when Surface sales start to edge out iPads as the handheld device leader, I’ll pay more attention to what era we’re actually living in. But, for now, look around. Who’s using the iPad and the iPhone? Everybody. And all of them are using their desktop Macs and PCs less today than yesterday.
It’s a Post PC era, alright. Microsoft just hasn’t figured out a way to join.