Not Happenin'

I've been in this line of work for about 15 years, and I've learned a great deal. One of the things I learned early on was to leave it to others in Computerworld's physical and virtual newsrooms to predict what will happen in the new year. I'm lousy at it.

As far as I'm concerned, this industry is way too unpredictable.

Think about it. One year ago, who would have predicted that within 12 months, Oracle's Larry Ellison would buy Siebel Systems, a company he'd long scoffed at because of its build-by-acquisition strategy? Or that Hewlett-Packard would announce that Netscape, of all things, would ship on its PCs beginning in 2006? You wouldn't have raised any more eyebrows if you had forecast that HP would offer users the option of selecting WordStar as their default word processor.

So there's no way I'm going to try to expound upon what you can expect to see this year. A lot of bright people have very capably provided that insight in this inaugural issue of 2006, so I'm not going there. Instead, I'm taking a much safer road. I'm offering my predictions of what will not occur in the course of the next 12 months. Here we go:

  • CA, the company formerly known as Computer Associates, will not abbreviate its new name as a means of disassociating itself from the management team that boneheadedly eliminated the company's 300 customer advocate positions worldwide. But only because it's running out of letters.
  • The H-1B visa cap will not be raised to enable more non-U.S. citizens to contribute to the development of this country's technological capabilities. Too many voters are convinced it's unfair to have to compete for jobs with people who work harder than we do.
  • Dell will not forgo its cozy arrangement with Intel in order to appease customers who have been clamoring for AMD processors. OK, that was a gimme.
  • Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy will not publicly admit that spending $4.1 billion to acquire StorageTek was a mindless waste of his shareholders' money. Then again, McNealy still hasn't even admitted publicly that Solaris is a mindless waste of his users' money.
  • IBM will not sell its software business to a Chinese company. Are you kidding? IBM was practically accused of treason for dumping its sick PC business into Chinese hands. Nobody wants to see Steve Mills branded with a scarlet "T."
  • Salesforce.com will not do anything whatsoever that's innovative in 2006. CEO Marc Benioff will be way too busy trying to divert public attention from his competitors to spur any innovation at his own company.
  • The number of Linux aficionados will not increase in 2006. In fact, their numbers will diminish as Linux loonies worldwide throw themselves off cliffs and in front of trains after seeing Bill Gates on Time magazine's Dec. 26 "Persons of the Year" cover.

On that note, let me wrap up by saying we hope you enjoy the intriguing, informative look ahead that Special Projects Editor Ellen Fanning and her team have produced for you in this special Forecast issue. And best wishes from all of us for a healthy, rewarding, happy new year.

Don Tennant

Don Tennant is editor in chief of Computerworld. Contact him at don_tennant@computerworld.com.

What's on tap this year in IT? See the complete Forecast 2006 special report.


Special Report

Bold Predictions for 2006

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Copyright © 2006 IDG Communications, Inc.

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