OK, having read both articles, I can't make sense out of the latter one (Cringely). First, predicting the future as a mere extrapolation of today has always been a failure. Second, he talks a lot but it's neither here nor there:
Death of the desktop is clear not because Windows desktop sales are declining but because Macintosh desktop sales are declining. When Mercedes (Apple) begins to suffer declining unit sales, what does it mean for GM (Microsoft)? Not good.
Nonsense, I say. Mercedes sales depend on a completely different set of market and social conditions than the sales of your mid-size family car. Only some
factors overlap, like the price of gas, but then they affect the two segments to very different degrees. Nobody needs
a Mercedes (Apple), but a lot of people do need a
car (some form of a personal, desktop computer).
Then he says
Microsoft didn’t invent the PC but benefited from its invention. Microsoft didn’t invent BASIC, they didn’t invent the PC operating system, they didn’t invent word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation applications, they didn’t invent PC games, they didn’t invent the graphical user interface, they didn’t invent the notebook or the tablet, they didn’t invent the Internet, they didn’t invent the music player or the video game, but they benefited from all these things.
...and I can't understand how that relates to anything. Apple didn't invent any of these, either. Samsung didn't invent the smartphone, but they're already selling more units than Apple. And it's much, much
easier to switch a cell phone brand than to change your OS, all your apps and all your habits along with them.
Touch interface is a joke. It's inconvenient even on a smartphone, it's only become so common because it was the only way to grow the screen size without up-sizing the entire device. Can you touch-type on a touch keyboard? Only in Star Trek, and you had to be Data. Does anyone seriously think that everyone in the world whose work involves a lot of typing, down to the last humble clerk, will willingly switch to a touch-screen? POS terminals are one thing, writing in complete sentences and paragraphs is totally different. And, seriously, for how long can you keep your arm extended forward and carefully pecking at the on-screen keyboard? Our bodies are not even built for that kind of task.
Like Blanche DuBois, Microsoft has relied on the kindness of strangers.
More nonsense, do I even have to spell it out? Kindness
And of course, the survival of Microsoft and the survival of your classic desktop PC are two entirely separate issues. Cringely starts with the Napier/RR engine analogy, but of course the lesson from that analogy is that that particular kind of engine did not disappear or even substantially change. Someone just made an incrementally better one. (And the jet engine did not displace the turbine, either.)
Yeah, so maybe they can live off their patents - if so, who cares? Do we really care about what happens to MS, or do we care about what technology we will be using in the days to come? That article doesn't even seem to know what it's on about. I certainly don't.