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Windows 8 ushers in end of PCs, says PC exec

Posted: 23 Oct 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Windows 8? x86? iPad? DOS? Surface?

With the nearing release of Windows 8, a veteran PC executive has claimed that the new operating system is a sign that the era of PCs and the OEMs who make them is coming to a close.

Still, Joshua Shapiro, who spent 14 years at IBM before becoming a consultant and entrepreneur, said he has a technique to enable mass customisation of software loads on PCs he says could help revive the platform.

Windows 8 includes essentially two environments: the traditional Windows operating system that runs apps complied for the x86 and a new run-time environment formerly called Metro that interprets byte codes for either x86 or ARM processors.

Shapiro claims that over time, Microsoft will lessen its emphasis on traditional desktops and their compiled x86 apps in favour of iPad-like tablets like Microsoft Surface and their interpreted apps. The move parallels how Windows initially included then later discarded DOS.

"Everyone invested in [traditional PCs] is screwed," said Shapiro. "With Metro and Windows 8, Microsoft is essentially walking away from the PC and leaving it to die," he said.

Companies who make PCs will see their already thin margins wither away over the next few years from a lack of investment in PC software, he argued. "You can already see the train wreck in HP and Dellrather than defending the PC, they are running away from it," he said.

"It's my contention you need to stimulate PC software development, but the only group doing that today is the computer gamersthey have the only software that comes close to stressing a PC," said Shapiro. "Nobody wants to develop for the PC anymore because there is no money in it, and VCs won't support PC software start-ups because they only support apps now," he said.

Shapiro believes his company, Imbue, could help revive the PC software industry. Imbue has a patented method for quickly loading software on PCs that he claimed enables OEMs to offer custom software images to consumers.

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