Futurist and Channel Star McBain Leaving Lenovo

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print

In his personal blog announcing his departure, McBain writes that the desktop and notebook PC market will mature and begin to recede in five years. He says the future will be in sensor-equipped, internet-connected, purpose-built pervasive devices and in the cloud. It's time for VARs to get ready for that future.

Futurist, Innovator and Lenovo SMB Channel Chief Jay McBain has left his role at the PC maker after a period where he’s increased SMB sales by focusing on managed service providers.

McBain announced his departure in his personal blog and hinted at his future direction. The smart money is that McBain is heading for some cloud venture.

That could be because of his belief that the market for PCs is at the beginning of a fundamental change – a message and warning for today’s technology resellers who continue to base their business models on the sale of the box.

McBain writes:

"Upon his exit a few months ago, Ray Ozzie wrote a critically important memo to all of Microsoft called 'Dawn of a New Day’ that pushed the company to think about the end of the PC era. It is a must read for anyone in this industry.

"The IBM PC, which standardized and legitimized PC technology, turns 30 years old on August 12th of next year. The market for desktops and notebooks is still forecasted to grow for the next 3 years at a steady pace. I believe the market will further mature over the next 5 years and then start to recede."

That needs to be repeated: "The market for desktops and notebooks… will further mature over the next 5 years and then start to recede."

So where is the future?

"The market for pervasive devices will grow exponentially for the foreseeable future."

McBain, who has spoken as a featured Futurist at any number of conferences, believes that these pervasive devices are sensor-equipped, internet-connected devices that are purpose built.

"A world full of interconnected sensors, devices that can predict, learn, combined with social network aware technologies will change the way people interact with the world around them. Every industry will be impacted including what I believe will be revolutionary change in Education and Healthcare.

"I believe that history books will mark 2010 as the year the technology world shifted. The pervasive devices will be produced at a tireless pace. Most of these devices will invariably come from the consumer world and things like security of data will become the domain of the cloud and networking technologies. The devices will be relatively cheap (and disposable) and the management and durability will become less and less important."

Apps will be key to the success of such devices, McBain wrote, pointing to the fact that applications are what made the IBM PC a success so many years ago.

McBain’s vision of the future points to the need for IT solution providers who have relied on the reseller business model to further evolve. Establish a specialty. Focus on systems integration. Create an ISV practice. Become a cloud provider, an MSP, a provider of applications on demand. Now is the time to take steps to future-proof your business and get ready for the opportunities ahead

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com