Microsofts Top 10 Milestones for 2005
After watching the Softies for two decades, I can tell you they are hardly ready to roll over. Theres still a lot of plotting and scheming happening in Redmonds hallowed halls. And that will make the coming year anything but predictable. Nonetheless, predict, I will try.
I have a tough act to follow, given how surprisingly accurate I was in my 2004 predictions. Either I just made my guesstimates too obvious, or I was lucky (or both). I predicted no Yukon or Whidbey until 2005; no Longhorn until 2006; no Microsoft CRM 2.0 in 2004 (check); and that Microsoft would create a new program to undercut Linux in international markets (check Windows Starter Edition).
(Pat, pat. Sound of Microsoft Watcher patting herself on the back.)
But what about 2005? In the past, it was as easy as taking candy from a baby to predict correctly that the Redmondians would miss many of their ship targets. But now that the company has moved to a new policy of publicly acknowledging feature cuts designed to get promised wares out the door, Microsoft ship dates are less likely to become slip dates.
With that aside, what will be the big Microsoft milestones in 2005? Here are my best guesses:
1. The European Union antitrust remedies will be ineffectual, and ultimately, overturned.
Who is going to want to buy a product known as
2. Microsoft will pay off Novell and Real Networks, as part of Redmonds campaign to clean up its lingering lawsuits.
Novell must have considered Microsofts $500-million-plus settlement with the company inadequate. Why else dredge up a
3. Microsoft will add a handful of new countries to its XP Starter Edition program, while continuing to insist that it is seeding international markets for humanitarian, not competitive, reasons.
So far, there are five stripped-down, cut-rate Starter Editions on the market: In India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and Thailand. We expect to see a handful more in the coming year, but with fewer mentions of Linux and piracy attached to them. Microsoft says Starter Edition versions are for users whove never owned a PC before. But its worth noting that the Starter Edition concept didnt get its start until Linux began making inroads into this entry-level market.
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