We don't have a general discussion (i.e. anything goes) section on this forum, which means that there isn't really a place for non-technical questions like this. I mean this doesn't exactly fall under "Network Hardware & Configuration", but then it doesn't really fit under "Desktop PC Hardware" either. However, since I feel strongly about this particular subject I'll let it slide this time... <g>
OK, so here's the deal: People who use computers to do real *work* (creating, writing, designing, editing, accounting, etc.) will always need real computers like desktop and/or laptop PCs, workstations, servers, etc. Is this the majority of people worldwide? No, but the numbers are still quite significant.
How significant? Lets look at the current state of things. As of Feb. 2011 the online market share
of "internet devices" is currently about 5%, while Windows PCs and Macs (I guess Macs are "real computers" too <g>) command 95% of the market (90% Windows, 5% Mac). In addition worldwide PC sales are still increasing, and are projected to be over 400M units annually by 2015
What about the more distant future? Will the sales and market share of internet appliances eventually surpass that of PCs? Probably. The truth is that the majority of people only use a computer for web browsing and social networking, and you don't really need a PC for that
. Those people would be much better off with simple "internet devices" or appliances such as smart phones, pad type devices or cloud based computing appliances
. Note that this is not a new idea
, but the growing power and capability of these devices makes it much more practical today.
But I wouldn't worry just yet. While I believe that simple internet appliances will eventually be the rule for the masses, there will always be a significant number of people who use a computer for real work, and they will need PCs. In addition, people who want to "own" their personal and/or professional digital data (whether it be music, pictures, video, documents, spreadsheets, etc) will need some form of real computer to store, manage, and otherwise archive that data. In other words, even among the people who just "browse the web" there are many who would be unwilling to turn all of their family photos, videos, records, etc. over to some "cloud", and then pay monthly or yearly fees just to *rent*
it back. I mean what happens to their data when they stop paying the bill
? Those people will want to have their own private cloud
Bottom line: There's no need to fear the clouds
. <g> As long as PCs (desktops, laptops, workstations, servers, etc.) continue to be sold and used in large numbers worldwide, there will be a similarly large market for people to service and support them. Scott.