a16z Podcast | The $200 PC in the Enterprise | Summary and Q&A

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January 2, 2019
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a16z
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a16z Podcast | The $200 PC in the Enterprise

TL;DR

As the tech industry moves towards mobile operating systems, the future of the PC in the enterprise becomes uncertain, but the mainframe offers insights on how the PC market may evolve.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What happened to the mainframe business when the PC became popular?

Contrary to popular belief, the mainframe business did not disappear, and IBM's mainframe business actually grew healthily throughout the 2000s.

Q: How long does the tail of technology products tend to be in the enterprise space?

The mainframe business thrived for 20 years after the rise of the PC, showing that technology products can have a long lifespan in the enterprise.

Q: What factors are leading to the decline of the PC market in the enterprise?

The shift towards mobile operating systems and browser-based applications has reduced the need for PCs in the enterprise, with new PCs offering little difference from older models.

Q: How are businesses adapting to the shift towards browser-based applications?

Many businesses have transitioned their applications to web interfaces, allowing employees to use browsers rather than dedicated software. This has improved accessibility and reduced management costs for IT.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The mainframe business did not disappear when the PC became popular, and IBM's mainframe business actually grew throughout the 2000s.

  • The shift from PC to mobile operating systems has flattened the S curve for PC development, with new PCs being similar to ones bought years ago.

  • The demand for PCs in the enterprise is decreasing, as more businesses rely on browser-based applications and mobile devices.

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