In case the rock you have been hiding under is not Silicon, the earnings for Dell and HP were dismal. Reading the Investor's daily article about the latest IDC report on PC shipments shows that we have other issues as well.
First of all, the ultrabook story is not getting the job done yet. While the move makes the PC more mac like in batter life the environment is still classic PC.
So the Windows8 migration is critical to success. But here is the problem. Microsoft is not looking to be the PC company. Like Apple they see that mobile computing is not going to be stuck on the PC with a dongle but with tablets like Surface and phones like Lumina.
Likewise you go into the Apple Store and you do not see a bright line or display that says Desktop (barely displayed and always off to the side), laptop (dominates the front left) and then all the mobile devices.
Microsoft has rethought the OS to accomodate all these devices. However, Dell and HP seem to have given up their solutions for anything but laptop and desktop.
Likewise Intel with the Atom and their Infineon asset are fighting to own the experience, but their partners are about as siloed as a beer brewer's supply chain.
No wonder Surface had to be announced. Thought leadership seems lacking in the CES world right now.
It would interesting to see someone show the brillance to try to ride the wave of Windows 8 with a cohesive suite of devices.
However, the most innovative company on that front, Motorola Mobility, is now part of Google and I doubt that is on their drawing board.
I guess Nokia could do it, but like RIM, it's unclear that the internal ruckus is quiet enough to have an active path forward.
Last week I found my iPaq (predates the iPod so no suits please).
It is going to take a lot for the rest of the industry to cooperate enough to give Apple a run for it's money. Right now it does not seem to be on their agenda.