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 firstname.lastname@example.org.