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Tech Talk 7-31-10

Last May, a major shift occurred that many thought would never happen. Technology headlines around the globe proclaimed Apple is now worth more than Microsoft.

Surprised? While Macs still account for less than one out of 10 PCs sold, Apple's other product lines have shot up in areas beyond the personal computer driving the value of Apple as a whole past Microsoft by a paltry couple billion dollars.

That is quite remarkable for Apple when considering in the late '90s Michael Dell suggested Apple cease operations, close shop and return whatever they can to investors. At that point, Dell was growing like gang-busters and Apple had almost nothing. With some great ideas and even better marketing efforts, they soon did and the amazing run of products like OSX, the iPod, iPhone and currently the iPad have put Apple solidly out in front. Today, Dell Computer is worth about one-tenth of Apple.

What does the future hold? Steve Jobs expressed his views during the All Things Digital conference in June. He talked about reaching the beginning of the post-PC era, how computers have taken us a long way, and how the transition away from computers may be lengthy and uncomfortable for some people.

In detailing his concept of the post-PC era, Jobs offered the analogy of America's period as an agrarian nation when all motorized vehicles were trucks. When the masses gravitated toward urban centers trucks were replaced by cars.

Jobs thinks personal computers will slowly undergo the same fate as early trucks. That less people will use them as they migrate to other devices. Jobs has a solid argument as handheld devices are more powerful than ever and are quickly becoming the go-to device for many people; a trend that will likely continue.

Ron Poland is a professor in the Computer Information Systems AAS program at Clinton Community College. Poland is certified in computer repair and networking by the Computer Technology Industry Association (CompTIA). He is also a Cisco certified network assistant. Questions may be sent to him via e-mail at ron@ronpoland.com.

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