Steve Jobs began the talking point and Timothy Cook has been all to willing to carry it forward. What am I talking about? The term "post-PC era" of course.
While most people have heard this phrase and assume Jobs, and now Cook, meant people are purchasing tablets and smart phones over desktop PCs, they have it mostly right. However that interpretation is only a hardware evaluation of the term. There is another side to the quote than that — a software side. If Apple were really honest, what they would say is that we have entered the post-Microsoft era.
In the 1990's and into the mid-2000's it was near impossible to run into anyone using a computer and to not find some sort of Microsoft software on it. If it were a drinking game, you'd be better off living in a dry town. An overwhelming majority of computers either ran DOS or some variant of Windows during this 15 year stretch. If you found someone using a Mac, chances were good they had Word, Excel or PowerPoint ready to roll. The point is, during 1990-2005, most computers had some flavor of a Microsoft program installed. These 15 years were indeed the Microsoft era.
However, today that is not the case. Microsoft has chosen not to join the iOS revolution. They are also absent on Android devices. And as more people buy iOS devices, the less and less relevant Microsoft becomes. While Windows 8 is Microsoft's latest attempt to become relevant again, Win8 is most likely to be another "me-too" effort with nothing fantastically new or compelling to offer the market. Their Windows 8 tiled approach may be different, but not necessarily better. Windows 8 will be Microsoft's version of what you already have — but about four to five years less mature than the rest of the market. Once again, Microsoft is living in the Microsoft era world, where the software just needed the Microsoft logo to be considered relevant and necessary.
So the next time you hear the term "post-PC era" uttered you can now translate it to its real meaning — the "post-Microsoft era" — where running Microsoft software is not needed to be productive, to be entertained or to connect with others. Matter of fact, it's not needed at all.