Now I am not talking about the PC (that is another blog) but rather the way we interact with our computers. For years operating systems of all flavours, whether they be Apple, Linux or Windows based, have all had the same basic interface – the desktop. This all changed when Microsoft brought out Windows 8 with its Modern UI (aka Metro) interface. Overnight the trusty desktop went from being at the forefront of the user experience to being relegated to an addon and this coupled with the increase in tablet sales has got a lot of people talking about the possibility of the demise of the desktop. So is the desktop on its way out? The answer is yes and no. Let me explain.
The PC was originally designed for the workplace but overtime as they got cheaper more and more average people could afford them and so they slowly made their way into our homes. Your home PC will very rarily be used to its limits though. Most users will download and play a bit of music, maybe watch some videos, surf the internet and might do some word processing but that is about it. For a home user a touch screen accomplishes most, if not all, of these tasks and this is why tablets and smartphones are on the rise. Last time I looked there is no need for a desktop on a smartphone or tablet so in the consumer market I would say the desktop is on its way out.
Now lets look at the business market where the mouse and keyboard are king. Employees in a business environment need to be productive or their company will start to lose money. A lot of people would miss the desktop if it disappeared simply because they have become used to it. Without the desktop staff would have to be retrained which would cost businesses a lot of time and money.
A lot of business applications have also been written with the desktop in mind and to get rid of the desktop would mean re-writing a lot of applications and again this would cost businesses A LOT OF MONEY. In the foreseeable future this will not happen. Not even Microsoft would throw away billions in revenue just to get rid of the desktop.
Ah but what about the increase in BYOD into the workplace? This is a funny one. Yes the employee could decide to buy an iPad and then use it for work but, and this is a big but, if they can’t be productive on it then management will pull the plug and get them back on either laptops or desktops. Yes BYOD is a good thing (keeps costs down) but as yet it is still unproven in the workplace. Only time will tell but at the moment I can’t see the desktop going anywhere in a business environment and Microsoft will struggle to get businesses to upgrade to Windows 8 as a result.
Here is a thought for you should Microsoft have brought out both a business version and consumer version of Windows 8? The business version could default to the desktop while the consumer version could default to Modern UI as it does now. This way Microsoft could give both markets what they want.
What do you think?
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