Cringely speculates about the demise of the PC and the clash of Intel and Microsoft.
Microsoft has known for a long time that the PC as a platform is dying. The trends it sees for successor technologies are clear: mobility and gaming. Mobility means some combination of a handheld computer and a mobile phone. Gaming means xBox 360 and all that it can be -- a game system, a home media platform, a more-than-rudimentary Internet device and home PC.
Redmond has chosen IBM as its xBox hardware partner, so Intel must plot its revenge. This is not so much Paul Otellini taking out Bill Gates with an ice pick as it is Intel as an ongoing business trying to survive. The only way Intel can do that is by beating Microsoft on content delivery and networking, and by giving Microsoft something to worry about on the desktop, which was the basis of my original Apple/Intel theory. A theory I continue to believe, by the way.
So where Intel had been Microsoft's lap dog on so many previous technical initiatives, I'm sure we'll see some divergence, like Intel's partnering in the new Apple movie download service, which someone told me this week will be called iVideo.
A year from now, it will be interesting to see whether Microsoft does the obvious and tries to move some version of xBox technology onto business desktops. After a decade of messing around, thin client computing is almost inevitable for businesses. Not only are existing computers too darned hard to service, support, and keep virus-free, but all the new legal requirements for protecting and preserving corporate data (Sarbanes Oxley, HIPAA, GLBA, FERC and so many others) pretty much demand some central data repository.