Increasing convergence based on PC technology displacing all other platforms is the shape of the future to come, Eckhard Pfeiffer, Compaq's CEO, said in his keynote speech at Comdex/Fall today.
Pfeiffer dwelt on Compaq's "industry standard" theme, as outlined by former CEO Rod Canion at a keynote speech at Comdex/Fall in 1995 and claimed that the PC platform will soon reach a stage where other legacy platforms disappear.
He said: "PCs today have redefined how we spend our time at work and play. When Compaq pioneered the sub-$1,000 PC, it crossed a whole new threshold."
He continued: "The PC has also made world economies more effective. We said there would be an information access revolution in 1995 and that people would use PCs as a network device on the scale of 100s of millions."
The future depended on customers relying on a PC that would give a completely satisfying experience, he said. That depended on third parties, including the reseller world, offering service and support. "Dell and Gateway offer little in support. The dirty secret is that customers demand service from their vendors."
He added: "We don't need big services networks like DEC and IBM.The new model will be based on open standards."
PCs, he said, would reach to the very top of the enterprise model. "That day is finally near. Compaq is running on the new iron, not the old iron."
"Leading vendors," he said, "will be the ones which partner with customers."
He added that PCs will benefit small and medium sized enterprises. "This segment is twice the size of the enterprise market," he said. "We anticipate that SMEs will leverage the technology like never before. They are a lot closer to their business."
And PCs, he predicted, will permeate into every walk of life. "We'll see PC architecute in every aspect of life including automobiles and the networked home," he said. "The next step is to take entertainment into the home."
Compaq, he revealed, was test marketing a PC Theatre using technology which would allow films to be shown, people to browse the Web, and also to run applications if they so wished.
One of the problems close to being overcome was lack of bandwidth, he said. "The PC industry will agree with carriers...on a megabit standard bandwidth, all for about $40 a month."
Billions of dollars were being spent on the infrastructure to achieve that, he said. "When that happens, get ready to fasten your seatbelts. The digital home of the future will depend on devices all genetically related to the PC. Some PCs will sell for as much as $500."
He predicted that cars will have their own Web addresses and be able to report faults to manufacturers, which will then deliver solutions to owners and specify parts to car dealers.
Consolidation of the PC industry will continue, said Pfeiffer. "I expect that in five years from now, the top four players will represent over 70 per cent of the worldwide market."
He concluded: "I promise that we will be one of the top three IT vendors as we enter the next century."
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