IBM inventor: PC is dead

Mark Dean IBM

In our increasingly smartphone-and-tablet computing-centric world, one of the computer engineers who helped design IBM's first personal computer, has made it official: The PC is dead.

Thirty years ago, Mark Dean was part of the original team that helped usher in a personal computing revolution when Big Blue announced its PC. On the anniversary of that seminal announcement, Dean said it is time to move beyond the PC. (see: Today is the IBM Model 5150's 30th birthday)

"My primary computer now is a tablet. When I helped design the PC, I didn't think I'd live long enough to witness its decline," Dean, nowadays the chief technology officer for IBM Middle East and Africa, wrote on a company blog. "But, while PCs will continue to be much-used devices, they're no longer at the leading edge of computing. They're going the way of the vacuum tube, typewriter, vinyl records, CRT and incandescent light bulbs."

Taking note of recent changes reworking the contours of the tech landscape, Dean observed that while PCs are getting replaced, the interesting development action now centers around mobile hardware and social networking connections.

"These days, it's becoming clear that innovation flourishes best not on devices but in the social spaces between them, where people and ideas meet and interact. It is there that computing can have the most powerful impact on economy, society and people's lives," he wrote.

For IBM, which this year celebrates its centenary, Dean's apercu isn't likely to spark much controversy within the company's corridors. Starting when Lou Gerstner took over as CEO in 1993, Big Blue progressively reduced its reliance on PC-related sales in favor of software and services to the point where it eventually sold its PC business to Lenovo Group in 2004.

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