It seems like BYOC (computer) is dead these days, with everyone focusing on devices. Is that right?

When we first started talking about the "BYO" (bring your own) concept on BrianMadden.com, we talked about it in the context of employees bringing their own computers, as in "BYOC" or "BYOPC.

When we first started talking about the "BYO" (bring your own) concept on BrianMadden.com, we talked about it in the context of employees bringing their own computers, as in "BYOC" or "BYOPC." Our first article about BYO was way back in 2007 where we talked about the rise of the employee-owned PC in a world where CIOs are losing control. Since then we've written 21 articles on BYOC.

But nowadays you hear more about BYOD (devices) than BYOC (computers). The original change to that term happened with the rise of smart phones and tablets—the idea being that the term "devices" includes phones, tablets, and computers.

However in recent years, the term BYOD seems to only focus on mobile devices and does not seem to include computers. (This is just based on my own anecdotal experience of following the industry.)

Meanwhile we're also seeing the BYOD used frequently (31k results in Google News) versus only 3500 occurrences of BYOC. (And most of the BYOC usages don't even mean "bring your own computer." The results of the first Google News page also include bring your own clone, bring your own cloud, bring your own cape, and bring your own chair.)

So clearly BYOD (as a term at least) is taking off, while BYOC is not. This is also true on BrianMadden.com, as we've written 63 stories on BYOD (again compared to 21 for BYOC), and of those on BYOC, only 1 of them was from the past year and only 3 of them were from the year before that.

Why is that?

  • Is this truly just a terminology thing (like that BYOD includes computers too), or do people just not care about BYO computers as much as they do mobile devices?
  • Perhaps it's because mobile devices are more "personal" to people? They tend to be with them more often, so it's logistically more difficult to carry two?
  • Maybe the shift to mobile devices has meant that the PC or laptop is relegated to more "mundane" tasks and chores, and these are things that people don't need to do during the day?
  • Maybe since most apps have moved to the web and the cloud, employees don't need to bring their own computers because they can still do whatever personal stuff they need to do during the day from their work computer?

As another data point, I took a look at TechTarget's San Francisco office (which is where I work). We have about 40 people here. There's no BYOC program, and the company owns and issues Windows-based laptops to employees.

Based on my informal polling, I'd say about half the employees also have their own personal laptops they use for personal things, and the other half just uses their work laptops for everything.

Here's what's interesting though: I did not find a single employee who wanted to use their own personal laptop for work stuff. Each person's reason for this was different, including:

  • Those who have their own laptops use them for personal things and don't want work stuff "messing up" their laptop.
  • Others who have their own laptops feel that they shouldn't have to use their personal computers for work. "If work wants me to use a laptop, they should give me one."
  • Some who do not have their own laptops said, "What do I need a laptop for? I have a phone and an iPad, I can do everything in my personal life on those."
  • Others who do not have personal laptops said that if they really needed a laptop for something personal that they'd just use their work one.

So of course that's only a single company in a single city, but based on that it sure doesn't seem like employees care (or want) to use their own personal laptops for work, meaning BYOC is a non-starter.

Interestingly TechTarget provides employees with a phone of their choice, and the vast majority of employees use a TechTarget-issued iPhone as their only phone. So it's almost like BYOD is not a big deal either, because we just expect our employers to provide the device we want to use.

Anyway, I'm just curious as to what others are seeing? After being really hot 5-7 years ago, I'm seeing thait BYOC thing as kind of dead today, and I wonder what everyone else is seeing?

By the way, people have joked that "BYOC" should really be "BYOL" (laptop), because really who's bringing in their own desktop computer? Check out this photo I snapped in a coffee shop in Oakland a few months ago:

IMG 0446

Dude walked in with an iMac in a tote bag and set himself up with a table, power, mouse, keyboard, and coffee. (I half expected him to set out a name badge and a can of pencils.)

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