August 30, 2011, 3:39 PM — VMware appears to be using its VMworld conference this week to launch new attacks on the sky above and the ground below while adding a whole new type of target to attack and at least one new type of weapon with which to do it.
All the time its CEO insists, the company will remain laser-focused on changing the perception of end users so that when they hear "computer" they envision a metaphorical construct of conglomerated services based on public and private networks rather than the device they type on every day.
Users are already expanding the number of devices they use to access or manipulate data so quickly that only 20 percent of all the hardware sold in five years will be running Windows, VMware CEO Paul Maritz predicted.
PCs are a dying metaphor
PCs are metaphors themselves, Maritz said. The hardware, the operating system, the applications, the focus on files and documents – are all based on assumptions made by researchers at Xerox PARC about how best to "automate the life of the white-collar worker circa 1975," Maritz told a crowd of 19,000 the conference yesterday in Las Vegas.
In 1975 white collar workers weren't connected to the Internet, didn't do email, didn't communicate, share files or exchange much information when they were outside one another's physical presence; now, through email, text and instant messaging, file sharing, app sharing, data exchange, real-time performance and data reporting, full-time data access and sharing is more the rule than the exception.
Within a few years the workflow of a typical white collar worker will be focused on "streams of information that will be coming at them in much smaller chunks and much larger numbers. We're moving into a new post-document era, and we will need different solutions," Maritz said.
There is a lot of good evidence behind what he says. Trends toward non-Windows mobile devices, resurgence of Apple on the back of the iPhone and iPad, almost universal availability of mobile data networks and increasing reliance on them by even non-power-users for both work and personal tasks.
Add to that the tendency of users of all ages to prefer narrow-function applications for specific tasks on smartphones because they do 80 percent of the work rather than making you type in queries yourself, and you have a new model of "user" who doesn't rely on either Microsoft or a traditional PC for much beyond the convenience of big screens, big keyboards and someplace comfortable to sit.
Cloud right now is more real than hype