An IBM executive who was part of an engineering team that designed the very first IBM PC has moved on to tablets and thinks we're on the verge of the post-PC era. He said as much in a blog post yesterday, the timing of which comes just two days before the 30th anniversary of the IBM 5150 PC, and some six years after IBM sold its PC division to Lenovo.
"My primary computer now is a tablet," Mark Dean, CTO of IBM Middle East and Africa, revealed in a blog post. "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."
Dean points out the obvious popularity of both smartphones and tablets, but doesn't see these (or any single device) replacing PCs. He instead focuses on the "new ideas about the role that computing can play in progress," and to him "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."
Offering up one final gut punch, and what he views as further evidence that PCs are going out of style, Dean points out that IBM's pre-tax income margin was 11.1 percent in 2004, the last full year IBM owned a PC division before unloading it to Lenovo, compared to 18.9 percent last year.