Is There Still Any Future Left for PCs?


In the video below, Michael Saylor, CEO and founder of MicroStrategy and author of The Mobile Wave, visits The Motley Fool to discuss tech, business, and social trends as they relate to investors today.

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Michael Saylor: We're moving toward a world of 6 billion people with smartphones. They're going to be augmented by 10 [billion] to 12 billion tablet computers. Everybody with a phone will have a smartphone. Everybody with a smartphone will have a tablet, and then there will be vocational tablet computers embedded in cars, planes, boats, assembly lines...

Every waitress is going to have one. They'll be in your hotel rooms, your living rooms, your classrooms. Every sales rep is going to walk around with one, so you'll probably have a 2:1 tablet ratio. On the other hand, a phone is a personal device, so that's a 1:1 thing.

If you look at desktops, we're going to add more knowledge workers, because the cost of education is going to go down and the value of education is going to go up, but at the same time I'm looking to eliminate half of the Dell laptops and the PCs in my company because I'm thinking, "Why do I want to give a sales rep or an administrative person a PC?"

It's anywhere from three to 10 times more expensive to operate than it is to give them an iPad, so I just give out an iPad to every sales rep, eliminate the Dell computer. We spend $300 a year per person, just to pay Microsoft the toll.

I can afford to buy an iPad or a tablet computer every year for the price that I'm paying Microsoft for the software. Between the Microsoft and the Intel monopoly, those two put such a huge load on the PC industry that you just don't really want to give them out to anybody.

I think that a lot of people will get away from and stop using PCs, but there will be some knowledge workers created, so maybe it will hold its own or it'll grow slowly, but clearly the best days are behind it.

So we've got 6 million smartphones, 12 million tablets. If you want an investment thesis right now, the market understands the smartphone idea. The market totally misses the tablet idea, and they've underestimated that by a long shot. I think maybe we end up culminating at 2 billion desktops.

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