Fearless Predictions for the New Year

It's been years since I've written a predictions column, and looking back at my efforts, I can see why I stopped.

Its been years since Ive written a predictions column, and looking back at my efforts, I can see why I stopped. Unfortunately, this is my one chance this year to look into my clouded crystal ball. So, here are my predictions, more or less ordered by their chance of success.

1) Microsoft CRM finally ships. The products interface lures people in. Its pricing is competitive. It starts to squeeze out smaller competitors, just before people realize its not all that it is cracked up to be. The cracked-up features hit late in 2004, but by then its too late for many smaller companies.

2) Intel slices and dices Itanium prices after finally getting the processor to perform at better-than-32-bit speeds. Intel continues to claim its not speed that matters as much as memory address space—not important until 2005.

3) Spurred by the Bush administrations peeping-Tom initiatives, dozens of firms gyrate toward getting government contracts. The companies win contracts but cant talk about them. Their products also dont work, so thats actually a good thing.

4) Commercial spyware becomes pervasive. Agreements and usage policies become embedded in EULAs. Spyware companies sell variations of their commercial products, which do work, to the government.

5) Ximians Evolution becomes the fastest-growing software package of the millennium. Corporations start rolling it out. A 32-bit Windows version emerges and begins to supplant Outlook as the common e-mail client.

6) Sun rolls everything into Solaris, then rolls everything into Sun Linux. Suns product SKU goes from thousands to a handful. The "systems" company becomes an integrator. Upon realization, it buys at least one large integrator.

7) Windows Media 9 launches. Its fantastic, but no one cares. Yahoos launch.com instead catalyzes Microsofts foray into entertainment media.

8) Grid computing sits out another year. Suns N1 and other automated self-healing computing initiatives struggle in 2003. The struggle allows the initiatives to get some things right, so well see good stuff in 2004.

9) Microsoft and Sun agree on more standards, including those emerging from OASIS and the WS-I.

10) National wireless fails to catch a break in 2003. No one cares about 3G. No one cared about Iridium. No one cared about 2.5G. Maybe it will happen in this decade, though.

Your predictions are going to be better than mine. What are they? Write to john_taschek@ziffdavis.com.