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Megatrends “Cloud” PC Judgment

Megatrends “Cloud” PC Judgment

Legend bids us to beware the Ides of March. Recent cloud computing news is actually recalibrating this phrase of fear for a future warning of woe, aimed directly at the PC community: mind the tide of 2014. For in that year, cloud bloggers predict en masse, the era of the personal computer will draw to a close, supplanted by a new and widespread entity, also known as the PC.

Indeed, the PC will replace the PC. In a wave of confusing acronyms, the Gartner Newsroom provides clarity. The blog recently presented a set of forthcoming “Megatrends” in technology that will usher in the administration of the new PC, the “personal cloud.”

Among the five trends explicated, three hold particular merit. Few sectors would deny, for instance, that “the advent of the cloud for servicing individual users opens a whole new level of opportunity,” stated in the fourth Megatrend. The cloud has provided for both a democratization and autonomy in the relationship between computer users and technology. No longer are they subservient to too-clever tech tricks. Instead they’re blossoming, now that technology is inspiring them to innovate and explore.

There’s equally little to gripe about with Megatrend 5, “The Mobility Shift,” which claims that the kinesthetic interactivity displayed by the majority of cloud-powered devices brands cloud computing as exceptionally friendly and congenial to users. Arguably the most cogent Megatrend featured is the first, which declares “you ain’t seen nothing yet.” Heartily agreed. Cloud’s biggest heyday is yet to come, especially as it continues to surmount its challenges of still-troubled security concerns and an overall lack of familiarity with tech laymen.

But why is the cloud blogosphere ringing that other PC’s (the personal computer) death knell so darn soon? Twenty-three months seems awfully quick for a deeply entrenched and established enterprise, with which generations now are so comfortable, to out and out vanish. Both cloud devices and applications still seem expensive when paired with really cheap PCs and their requisite software. And although the media has been Apple-obsessed for years on end now, the general public has yet to be entirely swayed on PCs being “uncool” or “so twenty years ago.”

Personally, I’m all for both PCs continuing to gain momentum in both their technical sophistication and value to Joe Public. These concepts of reigns and administrations are, in my view, old hat. I support rivalries, respectful adversaries, unafraid to compete passionately for those lovely two syllables, “better.” As to which is wholly better, the cloud or the PC, I’m on the fence. But I await 2014, or whichever year when a new tech king will be crowned, with baited breath. Until then, two refrains come to mind:

Long live the PC. Up with the cloud.”

By Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman

Jeff Norman is a freelance writer currently based in New York City. He's moved into writing about cloud computing from substantial work in culture and the arts. He earned his undergraduate degree in English at Stanford and has studied at Oxford and Cambridge.

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