Robert X. Cringely posts a weekly column which typically focuses on the computer industry or peripherally related technology topics. His articles tend to be very well researched and his commentary is quite insightful.Here he shares his 2005 predictions for the tech industry. Excerpts with edits and my comments added:
1) Microsoft's entry into the anti-virus and anti-spyware businesses will be a disaster for users. They will make a big fanfare, spend a lot of marketing dollars, but in the end, the company simply won't be able to keep up with the demands of keeping virus signatures current, which isn't the real point of this gambit, anyway.
2) Burst.com will beat Microsoft in their current lawsuit.
3) Apple will take a big risk in 2005( The rumoured $499 system??). This could be in the form of a major acquisition. Or Apple might decide to throw some of that cash into the box along with new computers by deliberately losing some money on each unit in order to buy market share.
4) The Recording Industries Association of America will continue to sue customers while their business slowly dissolves. The big threat here isn't file swapping, but affiliate programs like Apple's iTunes Affiliate Program that I am sure will be shortly copied by all the online music stores. These affiliate programs turn bloggers into shills and blogs into record stores, with the result that record company's last source of power marketing clout is taken away. It is the beginning of the end for old-style record companies.
5) WiMax will be a huge story, but widespread adoption of the wireless networking technology will take at least another two years. In the meantime, though, nobody will make money on WiFi, but it will become ubiquitous anyway, especially with the arrival of 802.11n.
6) VoIP will continue to shatter the telephone industry with the arrival of WiFi phones, which might finally be the killer app for hotspots. Eventually, all the backbone suppliers either start their own VoIP companies or ally with big VoIP players.
7) The trend of repurposing Linux-based consumer electronics devices through revised firmware will expand dramatically as people realize the cost-benefit advantage, The next killer app in this space will be a cut-down version of the Asterisk Open Source PBX. Imagine a $100 box that manages your telco, VoIP, and mobile phone lines, making them appear as a virtual three-line phone with common dialing rules and always choosing the cheapest route for each call.
8) Desktop Linux will finally make some serious inroads as Linspire sets the trend for how to make Linux more user-friendly. There will undoubtedly be other players in this space, but they'll just be emulating Linspire (formerly Lindows).
9) 2005 will show some innovative online video initiatives. The networks are starting to figure out that control of the broadcast schedule is being taken over by the viewers in a TiVO world, while producers with big libraries are starting to realize they don't need a network to sell bad TV. Since this is a tide they can't stop, the networks will have to decide how best they can surf it. Expect some interesting attempts this year, most of which will fail.
10) In 2005, the major beneficiaries of the Peoplesoft-Oracle merger will be SAP and IBM, NOT Peoplesoft or Oracle customers.
11) Cisco will rediscover its ability to buy and assimilate startup companies since it REALLY needs a shot of new ideas.
12) There is no evidence that Sun will change its current course, which is inexorably downward.
13) AMD will continue to grow at Intel's expense. And keep an eye on IBM's PowerPC introductions later in the year that should really give Intel fits, especially if they are accompanied by substantial OEM agreements.
14) 2005 will NOT be the year for UltraWide Band (UWB) networking or Power Line Networking, but both will do really well in 2006.
15) Sony's PS3 will be delayed yet again, giving a real advantage to xBox2 IF Microsoft can get it out the door this year in volume.