In the wake of IBM’s decision to sell its PC business, The New York Times writes:
The “thin client” concept has been debated in the industry for more than a decade. In the past, skeptics of that concept pointed to the PC’s flexibility and convenience, as well as to the problems with mainframe computing.
Today, however, a number of factors ranging from the explosive growth of the Internet to increased computer and data security concerns are shifting the equation. Managing viruses and worms is easier on centralized systems, and software development is increasingly shifting to applications based on Internet-based standards.
“The days of the $3,000 desktop personal computer are over in the corporate world,” said Terry Garnett, a venture capitalist who is a partner at Garnett & Helfrich Capital, based in Menlo Park, Calif. “This is a paradigm for the future and a signal of where things are going.”
That trend has been reflected in recent analyst reports. On Thursday, for example, Rebecca Runkle, an analyst at Morgan Stanley, lowered her 2005 growth forecast for PC unit sales by 2 percentage points, to 9 percent. She noted that consumer, small-business and government markets all slowed late this year.
In May, I.B.M. began offering a thin software application called Workplace – based on the Java programming language -intended for Web-based computing where data is managed and stored centrally.
I.B.M. is betting that such systems will be increasingly attractive to corporate customers and will consequently diminish the once mighty personal computer business.