Best And Worst 2008 Predictions

I'm not necessarily in the business of officially making predictions about the IT industry or market, I'll leave that to the realm of the analysts. But as a technologist, product creator, entrepreneur and IT guy, I'm always casting my net in the direction I think things are headed or will be headed. 2008 was a great year in many respects: Ozzie and Microsoft put some big whomping stakes in the ground to go after the cloud platform and applications, including their own unique twist on synchronization with Live Mesh type services, and to give us Windows 7, effectively the third generation of the Vista operating system core (Vista, Windows Server 2008 and now Windows 7). Microsoft also jumped into the deep end of the virtualization pool by giving away their virtualization technology for free, Hyper-V in Windows Server 2008 and Hyper-V Server. (See my blog post about the right way for vendors to give away free software.)

I had my thoughts about Windows 7 being much more of a pure application virtualization enabled OS, and later more of a cleaned up version of Vista. Embedded application virtualization may still happen but probably not to the degree I thought it should or would. I was also struggling to understand how Microsoft was going to get itself redirected towards the cloud and SaaS application space. Interestingly enough, Live Mesh was the clue that put it all together for me. The whole picture formed for me once I knew that. Most of their other announcements about hosting Exchange, offering hosting services, and cloud-based Office apps, were expected, though I was quite pleasantly surprised by the productivity push demonstrated at PDC 2008 in the online Office apps. That one should have been obvious too, again because of the Live Mesh connection.

My worst predictions were around Windows Mobile 7 combating the ever growing success of the iPhone, and to a similar degree the release and much lesser successes of the Blackberry Storm and Google Android G1 phone. Windows Mobile 7 in 2008 was, well, <chirp> <chirp>, nonexistent. Better yet, lets just not mention it... Microsoft didn't in 2008. The iPhone 3G, apps store and iPhone OS updates pretty much wiped out most lasting obstacles to the iPhone's success. Boy was I wrong about anyone catching up to the iPhone's monumental success, though I have to be honest and say I was (and am) really objecting to Apple's less than open business practices, hoping someone would give them a run for their money to show Apple the error of their socialistic ways. Could it still turn around? Sure, but Apple's got one heck of a lead. Even I'm developing apps for the iPhone now.

My predictions for 2009? Well, we will just have to wait and see those unfold as they come. I've already laid down some important goals for Microsoft in 2009 (please, don't make me look too stupid Redmond) and while they aren't exactly predictions, it's what I feel Microsoft has got to do to capitalize on their 2009 successes and momentum. 

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