A senior IBM executive has provided more fuel for speculation about the computer giant's future in the PC business. Visiting Sydney last week, Phil Hester, vice president and chief technology officer, IBM Personal Systems Group, alluded to the humble PC fading away.
After outlining some of IBM's interests in new technologies such as information appliances and personal digital assistants, Hester hinted that the PC business is less of the group's core focus. "We're not going to get out of any of the businesses we're in today, but we're not trying to tell people that this is the centre of the universe," Hester said.
"If you want to buy a PC, we want to compete with HP, Compaq, Dell and anybody else to sell you that PC, and we're going to be aggressive in doing that," he said.
"But if you step back and ask most businesses what the hardest problem they've got to solve is, it is not going to be hardware purchasing. It is total cost of ownership, it's building a solution around the set of systems that they've got, it's tying it into legacy systems that they've got and it's figuring out how to make the business more productive," he added.
Hester said that all those things that are really more complex than the PC are typically where businesses have most of their challenges. IBM's focus, therefore, is on finding solutions to these.