Insight’s Megan Amdahl On Windows 10 End-Of-Life And 4 Other AI PC Tailwinds

In an interview with CRN, Insight Enterprises executive Megan Amdahl says there are multiple tailwinds for AI PC adoption, including potential productivity gains, an aging fleet of hastily obtained 2020-era PCs and Microsoft’s plan to stop supporting Windows 10 in 2025.

What will motivate businesses to buy the growing wave of AI PCs hitting the market, including the recently launched Copilot+ PCs?

In an interview with CRN, Insight Enterprises executive Megan Amdahl said there are multiple tailwinds for AI PC adoption, including potential productivity gains, an aging fleet of hastily obtained 2020-era PCs and Microsoft’s plan to stop supporting Windows 10 in 2025.

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“When you look at it by persona, I haven't seen a role within a company that it doesn't make quick [return-on-investment] economic sense to move to an AI PC,” said Amdahl, senior vice president of client experience and North America COO at the Chandler, Ariz.-based solution provider powerhouse, which is No. 17 on CRN’s 2024 Solution Provider 500 list.

Major PC vendors started hyping up the concept of AI PCs last year with the promise of using on-device processing to reduce cloud computing costs and improve latency, privacy, security and personalization for generative AI and other kinds of AI workloads.

Since then, vendors like HP Inc., Dell Technologies, Lenovo, Samsung and others have started to release AI PCs powered by new processors from Intel, AMD and Qualcomm.

While the first wave of AI PCs includes new generations of models that OEMs have sold for years, the most recent wave consists of Copilot+ PCs promoted by Microsoft as featuring advanced on-device AI capabilities powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X chips.

Apple, on the other hand, recently announced its plan to debut new AI features for Macs and other client devices as part of the new Apple Intelligence brand. The company has previously touted that its custom M-series system-on-chips have long been capable of advanced AI capabilities, thanks in part to the processor’s Neural Engine.

Earlier this year, research firms Gartner and IDC said they expect AI PC shipments to double this year and double again in 2025, with the category expected to represent a substantial portion, if not a majority, of personal computers shipped in a few years.

What follows are Amdahl’s views on five tailwinds for AI PC adoption by businesses.

A Potential Productivity Boost From AI PCs

Amdahl said AI PCs could get a boost in adoption as businesses figure out how their employees can use such devices to improve productivity.

For example, she referenced Microsoft’s Recall feature, which, after her interview with CRN in May, was delayed over privacy and security concerns but promises to help employees find documents and other things more quickly:

Some of the amazing things that we all do I think with our PC: We created a document, and we want to pull it back up to share it as quickly as possible with someone because it's relevant to the conversation that we're having, and we can't remember the name of the file, and we're wasting all this time searching for it. With AI PCs, you'll be able to just describe something that was in the document, and it'll just [that] retrieve right away.

The improved battery life of AI PCs—particularly Copilot+ PCs, which Microsoft has promised will deliver “all-day battery life”—could also help with productivity, Amdahl said:

If you think about every persona, I mean, how much time are we are all wasting with how fast our devices lose battery these days. And so the fact that the battery life is going to be longer than a phone isn't just incredible from a user experience and productivity experience, but these are highly sustainable devices.

Amdahl said AI PCs could also help employees speed up other daily tasks, such as creating a presentation or taking notes during a meeting:

When you get into content creation, for anyone that's creating presentations, or we're all in meetings, and it's like, who's taking notes, who's good at taking notes, who's really going to summarize the key actions coming out of this? There are so many things that are just universal to what we do at work, and it's going to make it an incredibly great experience. We’re all joking about there's going to be conversations about, ‘Remember when people used to take notes during meetings?’ It will summarize our conversations way better than the human mind can in the future.

The Need To Attract And Retain Talent

Amdahl said the need for businesses to attract and retain talent could encourage such firms to adopt the latest AI PCs to keep employees satisfied:

Everyone's fighting for talent, and a big reflection of how much you value your talent is the device that you give them to work with every day. And so why not give them an AI PC device that's going to make them, depending on their role and how they're going to use it, massively more productive.

Refresh Driven By Aging PC Fleets

Amdahl said one factor that could motivate businesses to adopt AI PCs is the fact that many of them have aging fleets of PCs they hastily bought for workers when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a mass exodus to home offices in 2020:

A lot of our clients bought a very mixed portfolio of devices during COVID because they simply needed to do away with company standards and get whatever they could. And so, those PCs are now pretty aged, and they have an opportunity to go back to standardization for their organizations. And the reason that makes so much sense for companies is it's very expensive from an IT support perspective to manage all of those varied OEMs within your environment. So that's really a catalyst.

Refresh Driven By Windows 10 End-Of-Life

Amdahl said Microsoft’s plan to end support for Windows 10 in October 2025 combined with the fact that many existing PCs fleets don’t meet the hardware requirements for Windows 11 is another factor that could encourage AI PC adoption.

The fact that when Win11's happening October 2025, that maybe seems like a long time [into the future] when we were sitting in December, but now it seems like just a minute away when you think about the massive demand that there is. Microsoft has shifted their messaging which is appropriate. Over time, they [were] reminding people why Win11 is so much better from a security and a productivity standpoint. But now they're really reminding your clients like, ‘No, we're not going to support Win10 anymore. We really aren't. And we might do it for a few of the biggest companies in the world, but that'll be expensive. So you really do need to upgrade.’

Overcoming Cost Concerns With Device-As-A-Service

Amdahl said device-as-a-service programs such as Insight’s Flex for Devices could help encourage AI PC adoption by helping businesses overcome concerns about the costs of acquiring and supporting new PC fleets:

The one reason why companies might not do the refresh would be that cash is very expensive right now, [the] cost of borrowing is expensive. And so we have a very, very strong what we call as-a-service for endpoints. It's Flex for PC, and basically [it] means you can outsource all of your support lifecycle needs related to your endpoints to Insight, and you can do it on a per-user, per-month [basis] and finance the whole thing.

So we really take that objection out as well, which is, no, you're not talking about this many hundreds of thousands [of dollars] upfront. You're talking about this much per month, and that I think helps. And then there's a strong ROI there too. Our clients are really seeing that it makes massive sense to stop doing lifecycle services support and move it to a company like Insight that can do it really well globally, because the ROI there's about 25 percent, so it makes great economic sense.