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Is it just us, or does it sound hostile if Asustek says that the era of Windows-Intel computers is over?
Tablets, it seems, are not just seen as an opportunity for PC vendors to sell products into a new market. It's also seen as the chance to break free from the chains of Intel (Nasdaq: INTC ) and Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) . Asustek Chairman Jonney Shih recently said that there is a new era coming in which no CPU and OS can dominate PCs, tablets, or smartphones anymore. Shih said that his company is learning from vendors such as Sony and Apple.
In Intel's and Microsoft's defense, we would have to argue that there was nothing that kept Asustek from inventing new device categories such as the modern tablet. There were plenty of hardware and software platforms that supported the tablet idea, yet this idea came from Apple. It feels a bit as if Shih is blaming a lack of innovative capability at PC vendors on the companies that had the main ideas for the PC trends of the past decade.
We are currently seeing this again with the ultrabook, which apparently was Intel's idea. However, the initial ultrabooks seem to be only thinner and lighter than today's notebooks. It's not going to be enough to create enthusiasm for a new notebook to simply change the dimensions and weight. Intel is driving this initiative, even if common sense suggests that companies such as Asustek should come up with such ideas -- and take risks to go beyond the notebooks and tablets we have today.
Wintel surely will lose some traction as Windows 8 moves to ARM Holdings (Nasdaq: ARMH ) and Intel will also support, for example, Android. But this new age does not necessarily mean that PCs will get better. Companies such as Asustek will have to show that they can innovate on their own, without the help of Intel and Microsoft. Asustek will need the support of both down the road, as we have not seen any indication that Asustek can reinvent the computer.
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