Down with PC applications, up with cloud-based apps

Apple endured its darkest days during the early 1990s, when the PC had lost its original magic and turned into a drab, utilitarian tool. Buyers flocked to Dell’s cheap, beige boxes. Computing back then was all about the programs. Now, computing is all about the programming – the words and sounds and pictures and conversations that pour out of the Internet’s cloud and onto our screens.

via roughtype.com

I’m not so convinced — yet — that the iPad is the answer to a bunch of different needs. It’s clearly a 1.0 product and it feels like Apple has withheld some key technologies and features for the next revision.

But if Apple delivers on a few more functions — video conferencing, textbooks and a sort of cloud-based “docking” and sync — then the fate of the PC is fairly well sealed, at least for personal use.

2 thoughts on “Down with PC applications, up with cloud-based apps

  1. The weird thing is that most organizations are going to have even more cultural pressure to change.

    With firewalls as they are, IT depts, Clunky Win Machines etc inside and this open cloud world of iPads etc outside

    What a contrast

    • I can’t remember where I read about it, but in recent years there’s been a move in some corporate environments to provide only baseline infrastructure (network, e-mail, Internet, computer repair services and core applications), but leave the computer purchases and most support to the users themselves. The only standards enforced are around the common applications, such as e-mail accounts, calendaring, specialty applications and so forth.

      The idea is that you give employees as much freedom as you can while still maintaining enough central services to keep the employees in close communication and coordination with one another.

      Ironically, as an IT professional, I’ve discussed this idea with a few companies where I’ve worked and all have rejected the idea as impossible. And I must admit in several instances it wouldn’t have worked — mostly because the users simply weren’t proficient enough with computers to be able to support themselves. Centralized control and standardization will, in theory, turn the people into replaceable parts in the machine of the business.

      In an industrial model, this makes tons of sense. But as business generally becomes more chaotic in shape and function, the industrial assembly line model makes much less sense. Companies should train up the trainable and then hire the best self-sufficient, yet collaborative, people they can. Protect core assets, of course, but then let these smart, creative employees loose with their own computers and very little top-down control.

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