IBM PC's co-designer says PC era is ending

Tomorrow, the world will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the IBM PC. The design created by the company is still around in its most basic form in most personal computers built today. But one of the designers of that first IBM PC says that the personal computer's time is close to ending. In a IBM blog site entry, Mark Dean, currently IBM's chief technology officer in the Middle East and Africa, says he now does most of his computing on a tablet (he doesn't specify which tablet he uses).

Dean, who was part of a team of 12 engineers who helped to create the first IBM PC, says, "When I helped design the PC, I didn’t think I’d live long enough to witness its decline. 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." He adds that the traditional PC is not being replaced by the smartphone or the tablet " ... but by new ideas about the role that computing can play in progress. 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."

IBM sold off its personal computer business in 2005 to Lenovo. It also no longer sells PC peripherals or hardware like printers and hard drives. However, instead of falling behind Dean says that IBM is better than ever. He says, "We anticipate changes and try to get out ahead of them—rather than waiting and reacting defensively. IBM has been on a path of constant transformation ever since we launched our turnaround in the mid-1990s." He adds, "We conduct fundamental scientific research, design some of the world’s most advanced chips and computers, provide software that companies and governments run on, and offer business consulting, IT services and solutions that enable our clients to transform themselves continuously, just like we do."

With his new role as IBM's CTO for Africa and the Middle East, Dean says he wants to help Africa improve its technology and computing industry. He says, "While the PC revolution has had a tremendous impact on the world, I believe that the work that IBM and others are doing in Africa could have an even bigger impact over the long haul."

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