PYMNTS MonitorEdge May 2024

Will Microsoft Spark a Wave of AI-Powered PCs?

Last week, Microsoft debuted a line of artificial intelligence (AI)-ready personal computers.

New findings by Morgan Stanley — the subject of a report Sunday (May 26) by Seeking Alpha — argue that the tech giant’s rollout could usher in a new wave of PC sales.

“We believe that the commercial PC market will be the initial adopters of AI PCs given they are primarily being marketed as productivity tools,” the Morgan Stanley report said.

The report cited a number of factors that could accelerate PC sales in the second half of this year and into 2025: an initial price of $1,000 or more, a commercial PC installed base that is 13% bigger than before the pandemic, and Windows 10’s pending wind-down.

According to Morgan Stanley, 75% of chief information officers in Europe and the U.S. are either evaluating or planning to evaluate AI PCs. The bank’s initial AI PC forecast expects the new computers to make up 2% of the total PC this year before climbing to 64% by 2028.

As PYMNTS wrote last week, Microsoft’s new “Copilot+ PCs” — a new iteration of Windows machines designed to handle generative AI processes locally — show that the company is “betting that the future of computing will be powered by AI — and that users will want that intelligence at their fingertips rather than in the cloud.”

Created in collaboration with chipmakers and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), these AI-powered PCs come with neural processing units that can deliver 40 tera operations per second, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.

As noted here, the move toward local AI processing on personal computers represents a key shift in the industry. As AI applications grow more prevalent, there is an increasing need to address issues like data privacy and performance bottlenecks associated with cloud-based processing. By outfitting personal computers with dedicated hardware for AI tasks, Microsoft hopes to give users a more secure and efficient computing experience.

“However, it remains to be seen how well these machines will perform in real-world scenarios and whether they will justify the potentially higher costs associated with the advanced hardware,” PYMNTS wrote.

Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella pushed back last week against the idea of human-like AI assistants, telling Bloomberg Television: “I don’t like anthropomorphizing AI. I sort of believe it’s a tool.”

In fact, he thinks the very term “artificial intelligence” is a misnomer.

“I wish we had called it ‘different intelligence,’” Nadella said. “Because I have my intelligence. I don’t need any artificial intelligence.”

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