5 IT Headlines You Won

Ah yes, it’s that time of year. A chill in the air. Wishes of holiday cheer. Increasing traffic around shopping malls. And the mandatory predictions of what’s to come in the New Year.

Rex Baldazo has already given you his views on what we won’t see in the news in 2006. So has Erik Eckel. Now it’s my turn. Fortunately, a tear in the space-time continuum that appeared as a result of loading OS/2 onto a 3.0Ghz Pentium 4 PC allowed me to connect to a News.com page dated 12/31/2006. Here’s what I didn’t see:

1) Technology X displaces Microsoft X in the marketplace

I don’t care if we’re talking Web applications, Linux, OpenDoc, MacOS, Firefox, or Google. Every year we hear of the Next Big Thing that’s going to crush Microsoft. It hasn’t happened yet, and chances are it’s not going to happen any time soon. The only caveat to this prediction may be the PlayStation 3 going over the xBox 360, but until it ships, even that’s debatable. Microsoft’s biggest enemy in the marketplace is Microsoft itself, and until it makes a fatal mistake, nothing else is going budge it.

2) Vista ships on time – with a full feature set

Microsoft has a history of creating illusory ship dates. Maybe Slip Dates would be a better term for them. As the shipping date gets closer, one of two things invariably happens. Either the ship date changes or features get tossed over the side. Beta 2 has already been delayed while promised features like WinFS suddenly have become possible options in the future. Vista may indeed appear in 2006, but it will be very late in the year, and without a full set of features that were announced years ago.

3) Novell returns to profitability

This one pains me because I’ve long been a Novell and NetWare fan. The problem is NetWare market share is dropping like a rock at the same time Novell is trying to sell a free operating system that has a version dominated by RedHat. Novell has a solid record of selling operating systems to business and understanding networking in general, but so far it hasn’t been able to turn this reputation into profits. Being squeezed by Microsoft, RedHat, and The March Of Progress, Novell is in a whole world of hurt. I hope this one turns out to be wrong.

4) IT Budgets Soar

The economy may be slowly improving, but with the sudden changes that still appear all the time such as oil shocks, terrorism, and natural disasters, the economy is far from being strong. IT is usually the first thing that gets cut when times go bad, and it’s usually the last thing to be restored when things appear to get better. Business wants to make sure that it can get widgets built and sold consistently and profitably before it starts budgeting for the latest computer gadget. Get used to doing more with less.

5) Apple crashes and burns

The Mac may never replace Windows on the desktop or in the server room, but at the same time, Apple’s nowhere near in danger of disappearing or becoming irrelevant. The iPod continues to bring in cash and the Mac itself has a hard-core enough following that Apple doesn’t have much to worry about. And let’s not forget that if things do start looking scary for Apple, that’s usually when Steve Jobs shines and pulls a rabbit out of his hat. GM will crash and burn before Apple does.