Jonathan Schwartz: PC Business to become more like Mobile

An interesting take on the PC market from Jonathan Shwartz over on The Gillmor Gang, that as we go forward, the price of PCs will drop until they're sold much the same as mobile phone manufacturers sell their products:

... Because there is no way you could have looked at this little handset, and I think mine probably costs if you want to buy it new about 800 bucks. Well, I got mine free. Why? Because I signed up for a really rich calling plan with my carrier. And how can they afford to do that? Well, they've got lots of added value services they can sell to me. So I think, asking us what's the price of the PC is like asking Nokia what price do they think handsets could get to. I don't know, all I know is that the cheaper they get the more of them there are in the world, and the more valueable they are the more business opportunity it attracts.

First, let me back up and say, Jonathan was right earlier in the show about coding on your phone. Writing code directly on your mobile handset keypad is a pain in the ass. Anyone who's played with the Nokia Python for Series 60 interactive shell can tell you that. Writing English (or pick a language) is okay with T9, but coding or even maintaining your server via SSH on a mobile is pretty evil... unless you have a Bluetooth keyboard hanging around I guess. Nice to hear my name mentioned on the program, thanks Steve! :-)

Secondly, I think it's interesting that Jonathan is, in essence, comparing Dell to Nokia. It's an apt comparision I think. Here's something else I think, the mobile manufacturers have an edge on this. Why? Because they understand Big Numbers and the global marketplace. Follow me on this. The thing I have to constantly impress on people who are just getting up to speed in the mobile space is the numbers involved. The hundreds of millions of devices shipped just this year alone by just Nokia, the billions of subscribers out there, the massive growth that's going to happen over the next few years. Many companies just can't imagine this sort of scale. Apple shipped 4 million iPods in the past quarter, Palm shipped 1.5 million Treos and Dell shipped 8 million PCs and 185k Axims. Very nice, but Nokia shipped over 50 million handsets in the same timeframe. See what I'm talking about?

It hadn't dawned on me though that the convergence we're seeing on the consumer side would also inevitably mean a clash between the mobile manufacturers and the PC manufacturers. Very interesting...


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