Well here’s a controversial prediction. IHS iSuppli just published a report titled “Desktop and Notebook PC Technology Penetration Forecast” that forecasts that ARM processors will ship as the main CPUs in almost 25% of all new PCs by the year 2015. The prediction is based on Microsoft’s announced intent to make Windows 8 in x86 and ARM variants by next year. Here’s the chart IHS iSuppli has published on its Web site:
Matthew Wilkins, principal analyst of compute platforms for HIS is quoted as saying “…the days of X86’s unchallenged domination are coming to an end as Windows 8 opens the door for the use of the ARM processor, which already has achieved enormous popularity in the mobile phone and tablet worlds.”
There are a lot of assumptions plugged into this prediction. The biggest assumption from my perspective is that there will be a sufficient number of apps available for ARM-based PCs to make this prediction possible. You see, it’s not sufficient for just Windows 8 to be available on ARM-based PCs. You need the apps that make the PC useful. The Number 1 PC app, of course, is Microsoft Office. A lot of PC users need nothing more than Microsoft Office plus a Web browser and an email client. Casual users don’t even need an office suite. They just browse the Web and access their email. Perhaps the advent of ARM-based PCs will further pry open the crack for Microsoft Office competitors such as Open Office (www.openoffice.org).
Now if you believe that all software is imminently about to disappear into the cloud, then the only apps needed are a Web browser and email client. However, I don’t think everyone can or will switch to Google Docs or Microsoft Office 365 just yet. There are still enough lags and snags in using cloud-based office applications over the Web to make locally hosted office applications much more desirable.
What do you think about this IHS iSuppli prediction?