Monday, June 21, 2010

Why Steve Cheney Has Little Idea of What He's Talking About

Steve Cheney, recently a guest author on TechCrunch, posted an interesting article on how mobile innovation is "blowing away PCs". I will admit he makes a good argument. He speaks to the fact that the company power structure in desktop computing has effectively dismantled any hopes in hardware innovation, seeing as Intel can do as they please without resorting to new features in order to keep profits flowing. This is true. Intel is dominating the desktop processor market, and because of their monopoly, nobody is benefiting. As far as my position goes on Intel v. AMD and all of that, I'm not too sure. I'm a software kind of guy. However, what really gets me angry is not what he said, but rather what he didn't say: people have not abandoned laptops and desktops altogether, and there is a reason why. He totally left out the simple key difference between the mobile platform and the desktop platform. Software!

Whenever I jump on my iPod Touch or any other mobile device, I feel extremely limited. You can only install a specific operating system on the device (or rather you can only install a specific operating system and have it work well), and after that you can only install certain applications people have developed for that platform. And I didn't even get to the continually annoying three inch screen that is smaller than my hand, as compared to my twenty-three inch monitor and seventeen inch laptop screen. Put in other words, when you get a desktop or even a laptop, you are given so much versatility in terms of, not hardware, software, that some people do not even know what to do with so many choices. In fact, one reason some groups of people do not like Linux is because you can do too much. The same cannot be said for the locked-down mobile platform. (And anybody who tries to claim that the 225,000 iPhone apps is versatility has obviously never browsed the Internet for software.) And coming full circle here, it was actually the limited choice of hardware options that spurred the almost New York City-like variety of desktop software applications.

PCs are not being blown away. If anything, PCs are still blowing away embedded systems, seeing as it is extraordinarily easier to implement a new, cool software feature on a desktop machine that will draw hundreds of thousands of users than it is to make an entirely new mobile device that probably just introduced running two programs at once. I have been down this road before, arguing how desktops will probably not go obsolete anytime soon. In this case, I am willing to realize that the mobile market is growing fast, but Cheney's argument is ridiculously narrow-minded. (In the meantime, you might as well look at another post he wrote, which essentially argues how Apple will be superior to Google since they come up with their own ideas instead of making acquisitions, but I will save that argument for another day.)


  1. Hey bro, when you are correcting someone, especially when you're sort of insulting them, make sure you get the the headline grammatically correct. It should be "Why Steve Cheney Has Little Idea "of" what's he talking about"

    Just something I've learned :D

  2. Lol, duly noted and corrected. I don't know what's wrong with me today. First I accidentally forgot to link to the original article, now I'm making grammatical mistakes. :)