A market will always exist for PCs, especially desktops, workstations, and laptops. They are the form factors best suited for the origination of certain core processes and analysis activities of a certain nature. Yet, the centralized, network computing model presaged by Mainframes, extolled by Sun Microsystems in their heyday, and now proven with the rise of substantial web companies to the cloud business pioneered by Amazon offers great possibilities. As Microsoft pushes in the cloud direction at full speed (latest quarterly revenue results show it is a booming business for them), the second leg of WinTel is now poised to recognize the shifting computing landscape.
Intel now recognizes the Post-PC era … with layoffs and a change in strategy. Their chip making R&D may focus more on servers and devices for the cloud and we may see a departure from current chip categories and descriptions. This will impact some in a major way, but in general, it may trigger a shift in computing that refocuses how computing systems are defined, produced, sustained, marketed, and sold. Open source (see either the Red Hat or Amazon EC2 business model) becomes relevant here because there will be an expansion in opportunity to offer value add with respect to these new hardware platforms to come.