Did PC innovation die in 1984?

Prominent Silicon Valley analyst Jon Peddie believes PC innovation likely died in 1984, although the industry has yet to take any real notice.

“When Apple comes out with a new design, the rest of the PC industry makes their plans,” Peddie wrote in a recent op-ed.

“The PC industry is a gaggle of followers, either following what Apple does, or following what Intel or Microsoft tells them to do. To do otherwise would make them different and that would confuse the consumers.”

According to Peddie, this attitude effectively creates a “glorious paradox,” as companies feel they are unable compete because the industry is being commoditized – but can’t be unique because they won’t be able to compete. 

To illustrate his point, Peddie pointed to Apple’s recent decision to eliminate its entry-level plastic-clad MacBook – effectively making the just-updated MacBook Air its flagship computer.

“In doing so, Apple signaled its view that the future of laptops will be lightweight machines that increasingly rely on cloud services. Leaping into action Intel announced the Ultrabook concept – the clones’ salvation,” wrote Peddie.

“So no longer does Dell want to beat HP, or HP beat Lenovo, or all of them wish they had the style savvy of Sony, now they just sit at the front door of One Infinite Way and wait to see what Apple has thought of lately.”

Peddie also noted that even Microsoft has fallen victim to this lackadaisical attitude, as Redmond stands by the newsstand “waiting to find out” what Windows 9 will be like.

“There’s Samsung holding a mobile phone with a direct line to Korea ready to launch into production. And shoved over by the parking lot is grey old lady Dell. HP’s spot is empty, it’s out on the street with a big cardboard sign waving at passers-by—Company For Sale—Going out of Business Sale.

“Sony couldn’t make it, cutbacks and budget woes. Panasonic is throwing its laptops at the wall to see how far they can bounce and Toshiba is reading the China Daily News. [It seems like] innovation in PC land died in 1984, [but] did anyone even notice?”