Tech Outlook Gives Cause for Optimism

There is a rare amount of certainty in the direction of enterprise technology.

This issue includes our technology outlook for 2003. As the cover of our report shows, we see some reasons for an optimistic parting of the clouds next year. But like many trying to guess where were headed in the new year, our expectations are tempered by uncertainties caused by a sputtering economy, a questioning of the role of technology in rekindling productivity growth and a war on terror that could stretch into Baghdad.

It is interesting to note that the uncertainty surrounding the technology industry comes when there is a rare amount of certainty in the direction of enterprise technology. Consolidating hardware, adhering to standards-based architectures, and leveraging the Internet for computing and communications growth are common strategies for next year. In our outlook, we talk to the IT folks making the 2003 technology decisions for their companies, highlight products and services we feel will be the key drivers for next year, and make educated guesses at the winners for 2003.

An area of uncertainty now near resolution is the fate of Microsofts antitrust trials and tribulations. Where once speculation abounded over a dismantling of the Microsoft empire, the companys opponents will apparently have to settle for a somewhat chastened but largely unrestrained software behemoth.

Within a week of the courts ruling upholding previous findings in the Microsoft antitrust trials, we were in Redmond speaking with company CEO Steve Ballmer. In an exclusive interview, we ask Ballmer to zero in on Microsofts plans for next year, how the company is reacting to the favorable court ruling and whether the company will ever untangle its enterprise software license programs. We also spoke with product managers and other execs regarding the companys directions in the enterprise. Our special Microsoft report was developed by Peter Galli, Peter Coffee and Jeff Moad.

This week also marks the start of Comdex in Las Vegas. If any event is a physical manifestation of the ups and downs of the technology industry, it is this trade show. At one time, it seemed booth space would have to stretch out of the Las Vegas Convention Center and down the casino strip. Now its a much smaller event, but one where you can hear from the major industry execs, see all the products in one place, and—if you spend sufficient time nosing around—get a good idea of wholl be the winners and losers over the next couple of years. For our ongoing Comdex coverage, click here.

What are your top picks for technology for 2003? Write to me at