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Predictions - Who Can Say?

The wonderful thing about being in the predictions business is that one is rarely right in anticipating what one knows about most and uncannily accurate at guessing the future of things on the periphery of one's experience.

Of course, I have my own parallel universe theories, some tarot cards and a bag of rune stones that I use when I really want to surprise myself.

I should add, though, that flipping a coin is as good a way as any for predicting IBM's or Sun's results this year.

My bookcase has an interesting collection of "classics" going back to the earlier years of computing. There's Re-engineering the Corporation and Paradigm Shift, Release 3.0 and even an original Bill Gates' The Road Ahead, sitting next to Under the Radar, by Bob Young of Red Hat.

One of the more interesting books is Dvorak Predicts, by the US columnist, John Dvorak, whose big prediction is that "Microsoft's domination will come to an abrupt end".

"One bad quarter and the bloom is off Microsoft stock". "When the boom ends, Microsoft will be just another software company and Lotus will re-emerge as a leader in the spreadsheet and Groupware category".

Lets face it, he speculates, "DOS is dead and Windows NT won't really catch on and OS/2 will still give it a run for its money."

With almost 200 pages of nostalgia, it's really hard to pick the best predictions. There's:

Strong OS/2 usage will confuse the market

Unix will never become a mainstream operating system

Windows for Workgroups is Microsoft's long-term strategy

DEC will take Microsoft to the next level

NT is a smokescreen operating system

RISC will win

The Pentium will mark the end of the line for the 80x86 family

The TV and the computer won't merge

There'll be a backlash against personal devices

He does get close sometimes, identifying Unix as a target for Windows NT.

Unfortunately, Dvorak is more way out than way on, but big corporations will pay good money for this kind of crystal ball-gazing.
So am I going to predict the next ten years? Not on your life. I think Windows will be "big" and that IBM will still be around.

There'll be a few big hardware manufacturers and software will be something that exists in the device and several other places at the same time through Web services.

Technology will never be cheap and I will still have to ask my daughter to show me how to use the home entertainment "hub".

Winston Churchill once said: "I always avoid prophesying beforehand, because it is much better policy to prophesy after the event has already taken place."

Perhaps we so-called IT experts should heed his advice.


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