Some of the biggest events of 2009 served mostly to set the stage for bigger things in 2010. Poised to make a big bang in the new year are the fallout from Oracle's acquisition of Sun; Microsoft's new Azure operating system for the cloud, which will go from beta to service mode; Microsoft Office 2010, which will go from beta to full release; and two Windows alternatives, Ubuntu and Google Chrome OS.
When eWEEK Labs looked back at 2009 to come up with lists of the stand-out products
and technology goofs
of the year, I was struck by what a relatively quiet year this has been.
In fact, most of the product activity that jumped to mind from this
year served mainly to set the stage for 2010, which is shaping up to be
an extremely eventful year for the IT industry.
For starters, there's the Oracle acquisition of Sun Microsystems,
which was announced months ago but likely won't take effect until 2010,
thanks to delays imposed by European regulatory scrutiny. I'll be
particularly interested to see how Oracle will juggle Linux--a platform
for which Oracle is not only an ISV but a full-fledged
distributor--alongside its newly acquired Solaris operating system.
Between Oracle's existing Unbreakable Linux and flagship database
products, and its soon-to-be acquired Solaris and MySQL products, the
company will have a mix of different software stacks to offer its
customers. I'm wondering whether Oracle will take the stack mixing to
the next level, and modify the licensing of Sun's OpenSolaris project
such that the Solaris and Linux code bases may intermingle, perhaps
setting the stage for a future unified OS product from Oracle.
Next year we'll also see Microsoft's operating system for the cloud,
Azure, switch from beta to full-fledged service mode. Azure gives
Microsoft a powerful new way to market its wares, but I'm equally
interested to see how Microsoft uses the new platform to offer up the
applications of other vendors--both with and without its participation.
SugarCRM has announced plans to make its CRM suite available through
Azure, and Microsoft has said that MySQL will also be available running
atop Azure, albeit without the involvement of Sun--a MySQL arrangement
similar to the one that Amazon launched earlier this year in the form
of its Relational Database Service offering.
Also on the Microsoft front, I'm looking forward to the release next
June of Office 2010, which has impressed me so far in the beta versions
I've tested. Among the most impressive aspects of the coming suite are
the Web versions of its core components, which have been built to run
as well on machines running Linux with Firefox as on those running
Windows with Internet Explorer.
Microsoft Office isn't the only productivity suite set to undergo a
major new release in 2010: The OpenOffice.org project is set to bear
the first fruit of its interface overhaul Project Renaissance with a
new-look version of its Impress presentation application in
OpenOffice.org 3.3. Google, for its part, has indicated plans to add as
many as 50 new features to its Google Apps suite, in a bid to reduce
the functionality gap between Google's Apps and Microsoft Office.
Finally, I'll be paying particularly close attention to two new operating system releases in 2010.
Ubuntu 10.04, a.k.a. the Lucid Lynx, is set to hit the Web in April.
Lucid will be Canonical's third Long Term Support release, and I expect
it to break new ground for the organization in the server space, owing
in large part to its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud functionality.
Toward the end of the year, I expect to see devices shipping with
Google's Web-centric Chrome OS, which may well set the stage for a new
batch of rich Web applications in 2011 and beyond.
Executive Editor Jason Brooks can be reached at email@example.com.