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The power of prognostication

Jan 12, 20043 mins
Access ControlEnterprise ApplicationsLinux

It’s time to look back at what I predicted for 2003 and look ahead for the new year. I made four predictions for 2003, and I’m claiming partial credit. Specifically, I said:

1. At the end of 2003, Microsoft still will be in court fighting the anti-trust suit.

It’s still in court (with the Eolas and RealNetworks suits), so that’s a partial.

2. Microsoft Office will begin to lose out to Web-based productivity packages offered as subscription services.

OpenOffice is gaining momentum, but not as a subscription service – MS Office is closer to that. Again, I’ll take partial credit.

3. The release of Windows .Net Server 2003 will spur an increase in Linux-based servers as customers scramble to use the hardware in which they’ve already invested.

Linux-based servers are increasing in numbers and market share, but not as quickly as some others predicted. I’ll take full marks for this one.

4. Identity management emerges as the overwhelming security concern for networks and online services.

Maybe not overwhelming yet, but a significant change from previous years so I’ll claim mostly full credit. I’d grade it 2.75 out of 4, not great but not bad.

Now let’s go out on a limb for 2004.

1. Microsoft, faced with mediocre sales figures, will step up activity on the legal front not only with Eolas and RealNetworks, but also with anything that might tarnish Linux (such as the SCO debacle).

2. Speaking of SCO: Unless Microsoft invests very heavily in the company, expect huge losses and major changes in management and direction. No one will mourn.

3. Bolstered by activities at HP, IBM, Novell and Sun, Linux will become firmly entrenched in the enterprise server room. The extent of its penetration will be directly linked to the demise of SCO.

4. In the identity management sphere, privacy and user control of their own data will be the major topics. This concern will override the petty squabbling going on in the “federated identity” space among Microsoft, IBM and the Liberty Alliance as they patch over their differences to win market share.

Come back next year and see how well I’ve done. In the meantime, next up will be my choice as 2003’s Networking MVP.

Tip of the week

As a bonus prediction, I see 2004 as being the biggest year yet for politics and the Internet. From spam to speeches, wannabe office holders will spend more time online than in all previous years combined. We’ll have to find some other place to escape them.