A long journey ends.

PC is no longer the most numerous computing platform. Smartphones are; in the words of Tomi Ahonen:

[…] we have now celebrated the first full year when smartphones have sold more than all types of personal computers (including tablet PCs like the iPad) combined. […] full article, chock-full with stats is here

I thought I’d write a commemorating post for the PC, because I was around when it all started: in 1985 I had recently joined Olivetti and the company was abuzz with news about the M24, a so-called “IBM clone” who was trying to take advantage of the fact that Big Blue refused to import PCs for the italian market.

That year, a client asked me the magic question whether our flavor of compatibility included “Lotus compatibility” i.e. the ability to run Lotus 1-2-3, the then prevailing spreadsheet, a question that would lead me to Windsor, UK to be one of the first european employees of Lotus Development Corp.

So I can say that although my career started on big iron, programming in COBOL and (God forgive me) occasionally in APL, installing CICS and MVS, in reality all my life I have been around PCs; I remember the months were I carried the little tool to help clients upgrade their PC memory, or the “crash test” when one of my clients threatened to flip off the table a brad new portable computer to test if it was as sturdy as a Compaq (remember them?).

I remember the years of intense dislike for Microsoft, probably out of sheer envy for their roaring success, and also that my first company-issued personal computer was actually a Macintosh SE (foreboding…).

That era is over – it has been for while probably although for a true death of the PC platform we’ll have to wait the generational change that will sheve us and our tools, but already smartphones shipments equal if not surpass personal computer shipments.



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