Who said it and when? “The desktop computer industry is dead. Innovation has virtually ceased. Microsoft dominates with very little innovation. That’s over. Apple lost. The desktop market has entered the dark ages, and it’s going to be in the dark ages for the next 10 years, or certainly for the rest of this decade.” The year was 1996 and the gloomy forecaster was none other than Steve Jobs.
Were he alive today, he’d smile at slides 9 and 24 from Mary Meeker’s 2012 Internet Trends presentation. Apple didn’t lose. Microsoft doesn’t dominate. The “dark ages” have ended and mobiles and tablets are now driving creativity and e-commerce. The 1996 Jobs prediction that “The desktop computer industry is dead”, is looking more and more prescient by the day. Looking forward, one of Meeker’s big bets is on the emergence of an “asset-light” generation. The cloud, she claims, is allowing people to store and stream music and documents, freeing up physical space that was previously filled with books, CDs, newspapers, magazines and televisions. Time to switch on Spotify.