Blackberry CEO Predicts Tablets Will Be Obsolete In Five Years

from the i'd-bet-more-on-him-being-obsolete-by-then dept

When Microsoft was preparing its Surface tablet for the market, CEO Steve Ballmer famously -- and ridiculously --- claimed that people didn't really want iPads, but that they craved the Surface much more instead. While you have to respect a CEO believing strongly in his own company's product, there's also something to be said for CEOs who can be realistic. It seems that Blackberry CEO Thorsten Heins is going the Ballmer route on tablets. In a move that appears to be an attempt to pre-defend the company's likely exit from the tablet market (which has not gone well for Blackberry), Heins argues not that Blackberry screwed up, but rather than the market for tablets is dying:
“In five years I don’t think there’ll be a reason to have a tablet anymore,” Heins said in an interview yesterday at the Milken Institute conference in Los Angeles. “Maybe a big screen in your workspace, but not a tablet as such. Tablets themselves are not a good business model.”
That's the sound of denial that you're hearing. It is actually okay for a CEO to admit that his company screwed up (especially when, as in this case, he can dump some of the blame on its strategy on the previous leadership). But to argue that the need for tablets is going away without a more detailed explanation? That just sounds like rationalizing.

To be clear, I could easily see a world in which a tablet does become obsolete, but it would likely be one where we see a rise of eye-displays like Google Glass or further advances beyond that -- and there's no indication that that is the direction that Heins is taking Blackberry. Instead, this just looks like him covering up for the failure of Blackberry to offer a compelling product by claiming that the whole space is going to go away.

Filed Under: ipad, tablet
Companies: blackberry

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  1. identicon
    Mr. Applegate, 3 May 2013 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re:

    Absolutely agree. A tablet is a consumption device. But guess what, most technology users are consumers.

    To some degree I believe Ninja is correct. Huge towers that contain DVD burners, Hard drives... will become a thing of the past for most users. As more and more people and even companies embrace the cloud and as solid state storage systems become more economical the need for a traditional PC will fade, even for creators.

    Of course there will still be a need for traditional input devices (keyboards, ...) but the computer will appear to be little more than an over sized tablet, possibly on a removable stand. And yes I do program and have done it on a 10" screen. A little hard on the eyes, but it can be done.

    So the reality is, I believe, Ninja is correct. The PC is dead, the tablet will grow to fill that spot. I see 15" or even 22" 'tablets' that you can slide into your briefcase and take anywhere.

    What I don't see for the future is a PC with 10 cords hanging out the back either on, or stuffed under a desk. Nor do I see laptops (as we now know them) surviving. things like the Asus Transformer, though perhaps larger, will fill the space of the current laptops.

    I already use a full size bluetooth keyboard to work on my tablet, I just need a larger screen so that it is a bit easier on my eyes. But it is great to sit and my desk and work, then pick up the tablet and head to the couch or recliner or beach to review or relax. Even without a keyboard I can still handle that support call from the beach (or wherever) probably 90% of the time. I can certainly handle the initial troubleshooting and diagnostics from there and prevent a trip to the office or data center.

    Incidentally, this is also where Microsoft appears to be putting it's money with Windows 8 and Surface. They know the PC is dead. HP knows the PC is dead. Dell has seen the writing on the wall as well, and also appears to be transitioning to a different model more geared toward servers and tech appliances (printers, TVs, tablets...) than to laptops and desktops.

    So, the largest suppliers of desktops have left or are steering away from the market. M$ has decided to dip it's toe into manufacturing tablets and geared it's latest OS toward them.

    How can you possibly not see that the time of the PC is ending?

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