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Bob Cringely's Predictions For 2005 440

Posted by timothy
from the this-year-will-be-shorter-than-last-year dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Bob Cringley publishes his predictions for developments in the world of IT every year. His latest column contains his predictions for 2005 and a brief look back at his predictions for 2004."
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Bob Cringely's Predictions For 2005

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  • by MrRTFM (740877) * on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:13PM (#11307379) Journal
    - Microsoft sues
    - SPAM increases
    - RIAA sues users

    Even my Aunt Nellie predicted these to happen!

    I'd be interested in what major software is going to take off - spam filters, chat, music?
    • This one too: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mtrisk (770081) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:56PM (#11307585) Journal
      - Linux on the Desktop

      Been predicted over and over again, but "major inroads"? Linux will grow gradually, but I can't see how he missed a glaring hole: Linux wireless support. My prediction for 2005 would have been wireless drivers for Linux that work just as easily as the built in networking drivers we have now. THEN you can start talking about major inroads, especially on laptops (which I think Linux is more suitable for than the Desktop).

      Just my 2 cents.
      • especially on laptops (which I think Linux is more suitable for than the Desktop)
        Now that's a curious statement. I've worked with linux on a number of laptops over hte last 4 years and the special hardware and especially the power management are always a challenge.

        As for wireless, well gee my Netgear 54G card works just great if you don't mind the odd cold lockup here and there. If anybody wants stable wireless on Linux, I suggest the Orinoco 80211.b card.

      • well.. you don't really need wireless on DESKtop.

        on laptop, sure.
        • Wireless cards for desktop computers are great. I have two desktops in my house and one cable modem. A few years ago I would have had to run wires through my entire house. Now I buy some relatively inexpensive cards, pop them in the computers, and get 54 Mbps networking.

          Running large numbers of wires in a corporate environment is very time consuming and costly. Depending on what you need, going wireless in an all desktop environment could save a ton of money.

          -B
        • Re:This one too: (Score:4, Informative)

          by Ralph Wiggam (22354) on Monday January 10, 2005 @12:51AM (#11307806) Homepage

          You, like many people confuse the terms "wireless" with "mobile". Both terms make you think of a laptop, tablet, or car computer. Wireless means just that, no wires. Even if it sits still, it's wireless.

          The new version of the bar golf video game Golden Tee is sponsored by Sprint and uses thier data network to transmit game info. The previous version dialed in with a phone line and the bar operators didn't like messing with it.

          Yeah, this is my second reply. I had more to say.

      • I think that there is a high probility that at least one company will make linux drivers for their wireless card in the next year.

        It's not up to linus you know, it's damned hard to write drivers for cards you don't have specs for and these days it may even be illegal.
      • Re:This one too: (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Coryoth (254751) on Monday January 10, 2005 @12:52AM (#11307809) Homepage Journal
        Been predicted over and over again, but "major inroads"? Linux will grow gradually, but I can't see how he missed a glaring hole: Linux wireless support. My prediction for 2005 would have been wireless drivers for Linux that work just as easily as the built in networking drivers we have now.

        This has always been a chicken and egg situation with hardware support for Linux. Anything that is "fringe" appears to be poorly supported - the fringe is constantly moving though. I remember a time when you had to check a little carefully when buying network cards as Linux support on some chipsets was dodgy at best. The last network card I bought came complete with a Penguin logo on the box, right next to the Windows and Mac logos (and they kindly included OpenOffice.org and Gimp on the drivers CD). Video cards and sound cards also used to be the stuff of nightmares if you had anything that wasn't quite normal. These days they all just work with most modern distros.

        So yes, for now wireless support is a little lacking, but as more people use Linux, and hence more people are interested in wireless support for Linux you'll see more kernel hackers writing drivers and more support from wireless manufacturers resulting in pretty broad, reliable wireless support on Linux.

        Linux inroads to the desktop do have to come first though. Without desktop Linux making greater inroads there simply won't be enough demand for Linux wireless support to ensure it gets the kind of attention it needs. The desktop is coming, slowly, and I think Cringely is right, this year will see significant inroads - not a revolution, not even much of a dent in total marketshare, mostly just a change in perception of Linux into something that is viable on average desktops.

        Have patience. While progress has been a little slow at times, the one thing is has been is steady. Sit back and look at Desktop Linux from 5 or 6 years ago. Try loading up a system with Redhat 6 (or even worse Redhat 5 or older). Things have actually come a remarkably long way in a relatively short time.

        Jedidiah.
        • Re:This one too: (Score:4, Interesting)

          by andreyw (798182) on Monday January 10, 2005 @01:18AM (#11307904) Homepage
          With the exception of f*@#@^-up un-PC hardware (yes, that includes YOU, Mr. Sony Vaio - although you are supported now too) and various odds-and-ends (such as cheapo WiFi cards), Linux has by FAR the most comprehensive hardware support when compared with Windows.

          I was cleaning my room earlier this month and stumbled upon a pack of 5.25" floppies with data that goes back a WAY. Naturally, I wanted to see what was on the disks (and back them up on an almost as-ancient DDS device or CDRW). To my amazement, Windows XP refused to recognise the 5.25" half-height floppy OR the full-height 360K floppy. No such problems with Linux. Got an IBM PS/2 built around MCA bus and a SCSI or ESDI disk? Good luck with anything out of Redmond newer than WFW 3.11. And yet no problems with Linux - which has support for Microchannel, ESDI AND the quirky ESDI behavior found on my now-gone m55. I suppose I won't have to mention an old MFM drive OR non-IDE non-SCSI CD-ROM (yes, I needed a CDROM in a machine and this is all I had, rofl) - Linux 1, Windows 0. You don't even need to deal with obsolete or odd equipment to see that Linux kicks Windows where it hurts when it comes to hardware support. I have a PCI Adaptec UltraWide differential SCSI adapter that has NEVER worked under Windows XP. Never. Well, let me restate that. Windows refused to recognise the device most of the time. When it DID recognise it, it displayed the little exclamation sign next to the device name MOST of the time... and when it didn't, I received bluescreen STOP errors after light usage. NEVER had that problem with Linux. In fact, when I updated my PowerMac clone, I moved the adapter AND the 20Gb disk out of my Athlon machine, and it has no problems working with Linux /PPC either. Heck, SATA support in Windows XP means scrounging for drivers on vendor-supplied floppy... what a joke. I laughed my ass off when my dad couldn't install XP on a SATA drive, but could install SuSE.
      • Lappy Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mr. Neutron (3115)
        Wireless isn't the only thing holding back Linux on the Laptop. It needs to have full, native ACPI support as well. Get these working as well as they work in Windows, and Linux becomes a killer mobile OS.

        Actually, I can envision all sorts of tablet devices running Linux. LinuxPADD, anyone?
      • Re:This one too: (Score:4, Insightful)

        by danila (69889) on Monday January 10, 2005 @06:41AM (#11308840) Homepage
        A Linux revolution is impossible if we are talking about it in the confines of one year. Heck, I predict 2005 won't even be the year of "Firefox on the desktop" (i.e. its share will remain 20%). Gradual improvement of Linux would NEVER EVER cause a rapid mass migration from MS Windows. Yes, Linux marketshare will continue to increase, but there won't be a year of "Linux on the desktop".

        If you want a revolution, you need revolutionary technologies. A non WIMP interface, a port of KDE/Gnome/X to true 3D, an integrated office productivity application (word processing/spreadsheet/presentation/mind map/project management), an integrated communications applications (web/mail/IM/usenet/wiki/blog). Something that would make every CIO go "Wow! I want 10000 of these!". Working on better Outlook/Winamp clones would help only marginally. Do it if you want, but I don't see a point in switching when Windows has better GUI applications and Windows itself is good enough.
  • by Baldrson (78598) * on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:16PM (#11307391) Homepage Journal
    I wonder why guys like Cringley never put their predictions up on Idea Futures Exchange [ideosphere.com]? Maybe its because their predictions aren't that surprising?
    • Balderson,

      By all means, do you have any predictions for 2005. I find your posts interesting. Got anything to contribute this time around? ;)

    • Maybe its because their predictions aren't that surprising?
      Or maybe because there's no kind of real incentive to? If all he wanted was masturbatory 'propz' from a 'community' of strangers he will never meet, he'd open up a slashdot account and spell microsoft 'micro$oft'.

      Cringley doesn't waste time on ideasphere not because he has nothing to say, but rather because he's an accomplished professional who is highly regarded in his field.
    • You're either a genius, a lunatic, or a troll. Possibly all 3. Just when I think I hate you, you really, really zap Cringley. I am so torn. I'll try to be nicer to you on K5 though, you've earned it. Nearly pissed myself laughing...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:18PM (#11307394)
    Someone care to explain why we should be so interested in this?
  • Duh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by sugapablo (600023) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:19PM (#11307402) Homepage
    "Microsoft's entry into the anti-virus and anti-spyware businesses will be a disaster for users."

    What does Microsoft do that ISN'T a disaster for its users?
    • by tallbill (819601) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:56PM (#11307587)
      They have a nice keyboard design.
      I use one on my Linux box. It works great.
      I don't have carpel tunnel now.

      I just want to give credit where credit is due.

      Someone will probably post that they didn't design it.

      It is still a good keyboard.
    • The Age Of ... series is pretty sweet.
    • The only thing I can think of is Halo...but that's just me. I kinda like the game. Makes me want to tell them to get out of the OS and productvity business and concentrate on being a game company. At least they tend to have decent ideas there, when it comes to story lines.

      That, and I'd really love to see a stand-alone copy of their Solitare and Free Cell. For *ix. That would be cool.
  • Crossing Over (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kajoob (62237) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:20PM (#11307405)

    "I wrote that spam would get worse"

    "Microsoft would propose proprietary technologies"

    "Apple will take a big risk in 2005...though I am at a loss right now for what that might be."


    Well at least he goes out on a limb and his predictions aren't vague or anything. If John Edward stops hosting Crossing Over, I know where they can get a new host. ;)

  • by winkydink (650484) * <sv.dude@gmail.com> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:21PM (#11307413) Homepage Journal
    If the beta release is any indication, it sure looks like MS has a homerun on their hands with the Giant Antispyware application. Everyone I have spoken with has had new, undiscovered apps discovered running on their machine after installing and running the beta.
    • by Draconix (653959) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:29PM (#11307459)
      You mean like Firefox.exe?
    • All they did was buy the company, reskin the program, and turn around and offer it for free. They have not had a chance to screw it up...yet.
    • by Qzukk (229616) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:35PM (#11307483) Journal
      But can microsoft keep up with the rate of mutation in the spyware/worm/virus category?

      Microsoft certainly has a head start in heuristically detecting things (after all, they're the only people who know what all the random gibberish in the registry means, or whether mswin03.dll really belongs in 2003 server's windows directory), but I suspect that their heuristics are only going to get them so far, and that the people who wrote spyware that worked so hard to keep the other players from finding it are going to figure out how MS found them and "fix" it.
    • by Bill Currie (487) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:36PM (#11307490) Homepage
      and how many MS beta releases have not had feature removals and other de-improvements before final release?
    • by technos (73414) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:54PM (#11307578) Homepage Journal
      The Giant spyware application nukes stuff the other vendors decided was benign. For example, there are a bunch of tool-bar and assistants that are on their own safe, but can and will install other applications if not instructed otherwise by the user. AdAware won't nuke those; It nukes the spyware they can install, however.

      This is where the majority of the "Wow, I found spyware!" factor comes from.

      It also makes a bigger deal out of wiping files after the spyware has been nuked. AdAware and SpyBot leave the odd DLL, the odd this, the odd that lying about from time to time. The spyware is gone (It neither runs nor is capable of running) but Giant will claim this as an infection and bitch at the user that they have SPYWARE, when in fact they have an unusable dll stub in their windows directory.
    • I'd like to be the counterexample to your assertion; I ran the MS program and found nothing, then immediately afterward, I ran Adaware and Spybot, in that order, and found one file with Adaware and a whopping 19 with Spybot.

      The thing that makes me sad is that I kind of like finding spyware on my system, just to make me feel like I'm a kind of savvy Internet user who does what she can to protect her computer, and the much-vaunted Microsoft adware utility didn't give me any satisfaction at all.
    • What? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Monday January 10, 2005 @12:08AM (#11307641) Homepage

      Wait a second, just hold everything... Microsoft release buggy, flawed software in a hurry to get the first to market advantage, and then the unscrupulous use those flaws to hijack the computers of hundreds of thousands world wide... then Microsoft PURCHASES THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE to apply band aids to their seeping wounds?

      Maybe I'm going mad here, but since they wrote the damned OS in the first place, wouldn't they know best where to apply system patches etc., and wouldn't it be better and faster to get the people that originally developed the OS to fix it up?

      But why would they when they can actually charge people for their patches now? Sure its free for now, but not for long, as the EULA states. Not to mention their OS authentication services (which you can turn off, if you buy that line), which their patches ostensibly never mentioned.

      I can't speak for anyone else, but I know when someone is trying to pass off horse manure as honey...

      • "They" is a very difficult term to deal with. "They" are likely hundreds, if not a thousand or more, developers, working on more subsystems than most people may want to admit. Maybe even more than MS would want to admit.

        Getting a small team of 15-20 developers together who know enough about all of these areas is basically impossible. Even getting together a team of 15-20 developers together who can then go to all the subsystems to find out what is required - honestly, that's not even close to trivial.

    • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Monday January 10, 2005 @03:54AM (#11308417) Journal
      It lies. It found 10 "problems" on my machine. 3 were merely programs that have optional spyware in the installer (which I declined and wasn't installed), and the other 7 were rated "high risk" and "critical" (nasty things like CoolWebSearch) but they were actually just a few harmless leftover registry entries from when AdAware and Spybot had previously cleaned my machine. It looked very nice and the warnings sounded very serious but I did not get any actual benefit from running the program, because it did not remove any actual spyware that was missed by AdAware or Spybot. I imagine the situation is much the same with the people you've talked with.
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:22PM (#11307422)
    Nothing earth shattering here. The same old Microsoft and RIAA will perish while desktop linux will make inroads. Then a few other vague things like apple will do something big and voip will become more popular.

    I could have just easily said that in north east america, the year will start out cold, get warmer, get hot, get cold, and then finally get really cold. I just wish advertisers would pay me for that.
    • Well, I really do think he's got the VoIP stuff right. I'm now seeing commercials for PC software (glophone) to do pc-to-pc and SIP. Never would have happened before this year.

      I myself just decided to really give Skype a second look - and things are really looking up as far as PC/real phone combos go.

    • You forgot Sun will perish too.
    • Nothing earth shattering here ... I could have just easily said that in north east america, the year will start out cold

      Do you want accurate predictions or fantasy?

      Here's my easy prediction: Aliens will land from Alpha-centari, buy Apple, release a new L-Mac that comes with Linux pre-installed, and it'll put Microsoft out of business. Tune in in twelve months to see how right I was.

      Bob Cringley, on the other hand, will be right 75-80% of the time (and I hope he is on his loss-leader Mac product pred

      • He's right 75-80% of the time because 75-80% of what he 'predicts' has already happened.
      • The Unix/workstation (SUN, Silicon Graphics) people have dabbled in Linux, not because it is FOSS but simply because it runs on cheap hardware. They are *nix people because that is what they do, not because they are Linux evangalists.

        They are all going to go out and buy Macs because 1) they have decided that Macs are cool, 2) that Macs are BSD under the hood means it runs all of their stuff, and they prefer BSD to Linux given the choice, 3) they have funds to pay for it and always wanted a Mac anyway.

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:29PM (#11307454) Homepage
    Slashdot will continue posting Cringely articles two to three times a month whether or not he has anything worthwhile, interesting or surprising to say, just because it's Cringely.
    • Slashdot will continue posting Cringely articles two to three times a month whether or not he has anything worthwhile, interesting or surprising to say, just because it's Cringely.

      It's also because he almost always throws in a couple of fanatical anti-Microsoft rants.
    • And I predict that, as usual, Cringely will make pointless predictions, year after year.
  • Affiliate programs (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Eric Giguere (42863) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:29PM (#11307455) Homepage Journal

    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. This will take time, but it is the beginning of the end for old-style record companies.

    I didn't realize iTunes had an affiliate program, but it seems like a logical step. Amazon's been doing this for a long time with music CDs, of course, as have other vendors. While viral marketing is definitely a good way to promote things, I don't see it reducing the record companies' marketing clout. I've posted before about how they used viral marketing to promote Christina Aguilera [bebeyond.com] when she was new. This is just another marketing avenue for them. But really, you still need to reach people who don't read blogs. People still watch TV. Still listen to the radio. Still read magazines and newspapers.

    Eric
    Why is William Shatner's face on my All-Bran? [ericgiguere.com]
    • Don't forget that the really successful affiliate programs provide their affiliates with well-managed collateral material (ready-to-go audience-specific ads, profiles that point to certain products or ranges of products, etc), and most lazy bloggers or other amateur affiliates will just be putting up the spoon-fed categorized links via script anyway. Point is, the souce of the canned marketing creative-stuff will continue to move the bulk of the ads and click-throughs, and that's still going to be people fa
  • eh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ikea5 (608732) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:34PM (#11307478)
    FTA:"I predicted that all kinds of software companies would abandon support for older products, thus forcing us to upgrade to new operating systems and new hardware. Bingo." This is a prediction? why?
    • "This is a prediction? why?"

      Because he needs to pat himself on the back for pointing out that software eventually lose support because an estimated 14 of the original 400,000 customers still use it.

      What troubles me is the call for upgrades. If the software does what you need it to do why do you need an upgrade? And if, by the time your software loses the support of the publisher , you still do not have it working right you deserve to get the beat down.
  • VOIP: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Pig Hogger (10379) <pig.hoggerNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:35PM (#11307484) Journal
    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 will figure out that VoIP is their salvation and will either start their own VoIP companies or ally with big VoIP players.
    Won't happen. Local telephone providers, being required by law to provide universal service, will convince authorities that they need the phone revenue VOIP is cutting-off from them.

    Expect some big hobbling of VOIP, at least for John. Q. Public.

    • For local service, yes, I see your point. But the days of paying 7 cents a minute for long distance are history for many, many people already. They've either discovered PC/SIP gateways that charge 2-4 cents a minute or they use up their cell phone minutes (another subject altogether).
    • Probobly the biggest fear is that the cable internet companies like Comcast will start offering packages that combine TV, Internet and phone (via VOIP) all in one which would mean people could disconnect their PSTN phone lines completly.
  • by jlleblanc (582587) <<moc.cnalbellj> <ta> <tcatnoc>> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:35PM (#11307489) Homepage
    I predicted that all kinds of software companies would abandon support for older products, thus forcing us to upgrade to new operating systems and new hardware. Bingo.

    We've all grown accustomed to Bob's vagueness in these predictions, but here he doesn't even list any examples to support the veracity of his already vague (and super-obvious) prediction. -Joe
  • Giant Antispyware (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mboverload (657893) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:37PM (#11307498) Journal
    There has been alot about microsoft buying giant, and people have been saying it will be a homerun since Giant's program is so good. However, due to licencing, they are going to make a whole new program soon. Then we can get back to all Microsoft products being bloated.

    http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1743742,00.as p [eweek.com]

  • by mikecheng (3359) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:40PM (#11307509) Homepage Journal
    especially about the future.

    Worthless punting by Cringely - obvious predictions about obvious things, useless predictions about useless things. Just like a "Best of year X", everybody needs to do a "Predictions for year X+1" - and Cringely's predictions are as good as anyone else's (i.e. worthless).
    • by fiftyfly (516990) <mike@edey.org> on Monday January 10, 2005 @01:06AM (#11307860) Homepage
      Worthless punting by Cringely - obvious predictions about obvious things, useless predictions about useless things. Just like a "Best of year X", everybody needs to do a "Predictions for year X+1" - and Cringely's predictions are as good as anyone else's (i.e. worthless).

      Except, of course, that they aren't - they're just obvious. Actually they're only obvious to those already informed and following developments in the industry. What makes them usefull is the fact that Cringly has exposure outside of the industry and, therefor, significantly more influence upon the mindshare of the general population. Something I can't (and assume you can't) claim.

  • Sex Symbol? (Score:3, Funny)

    by SteelV (839704) on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:49PM (#11307553)
    "The sex symbol, airplane enthusiast and adventurer continues to write about personal computers and has an active consulting business in Silicon Valley, selling his cybersoul to the highest bidder." On his about page. Don't know if I agree with that first part, heh.
  • tions will be between 50 and 75%. :0)

    Seriously, though, 73% is a pretty poor prediction accuracy. Think about it, if you predicted outcomes of events at random as binary answers, you'd get 50% "accuracy".
  • Slashdot will still not have a Cringely category, even though nearly every week his stories get greenlighted.
  • A $249 Mac? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Fortunato_NC (736786) <`moc.nsm' `ta' `57hnilrev'> on Sunday January 09, 2005 @11:57PM (#11307593) Homepage Journal
    Although I doubt we'll see it, whether we see it or not, I'm going to make the bold prediction that in 2005, Slashdot users will continue to complain that Apple hardware is too expensive.
    • I think your chances of being right are the same chances Steve Jobs has at creating a reality distortion field.
    • Re: A $249 Mac? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by jangobongo (812593) on Monday January 10, 2005 @01:15AM (#11307894)
      • 3) Apple will take a big risk in 2005... 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.

        We might see that as early as next week with the rumored introduction of an el-cheapo Mac without a display. The price for that box is supposed to be $499, which would give customers a box with processor, disk, memory, and OS into which you plug your current display, keyboard, and mouse. Given that this sounds a lot like AMD's new Personal Internet Communicator, which will sell for $185, there is probably plenty of profit left for Apple in a $499 price. But what if they priced it at $399 or even $349? Now make it $249, where I calculate they'd be losing $100 per unit. At $100 per unit, how many little Macs could they sell if Jobs is willing to spend $1 billion? TEN MILLION and Apple suddenly becomes the world's number one PC company. Think of it as a non-mobile iPod with computing capability. Think of the music sales it could spawn. Think of the iPod sales it would hurt (zero, because of the lack of mobility). Think of the more expensive Mac sales it would hurt (zero, because a Mac loyalist would only be interested in using this box as an EXTRA computer they would otherwise not have bought). Think of the extra application sales it would generate and especially the OS upgrade sales, which alone could pay back that $100. Think of the impact it would have on Windows sales (minus 10 million units). And if it doesn't work, Steve will still have $5 billion in cash with no measurable negative impact on the company. I think he'll do it.


      I found this prediction to be the most interesting, and maybe the closest to going out on a limb that Cringely gets. It also sounds like wishful thinking, like Cringely is trying to talk Jobs into it by convincing him this would be a smart move.

      I can't see that Jobs would be willing to lose money on this venture, even if it is a smart move. It's more likely that maybe it would start out at $499 and then slowly drop in price over time.
      • Re: A $249 Mac? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by NoodleSlayer (603762)
        I'd honestly be surprised if we ever saw a mac priced below $500, and four years ago I wouldn't have thought we'd even see them as "cheap" as they are now.

        I remember hearing during the boom days that Apple was looking for someone to acquire or merge with but there wasn't any companies interested in any meaningful way, which isn't too surprising considering what a niche market Apple is in, the trick is that niche happens be a fairly well paying one. Apple gets to sell hardware at comfortable profit margins
      • Re: A $249 Mac? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Alzheimers (467217)
        If Apple really wants to raise itself back to the heights it once held, all they need is to become a player in the consumer home entertainment market. The success of the iPod can segue perfectly into a Home Entertainment Center component with a wireless keyboard, has broadband and email capabilities, and has SVideo/Component/DVI out along with all the audio connections.

        With an elegant plastic and brushed aluminum case, a simple GUI that Apple's known for, and a bright glowing Macintosh logo (how Chic!) a
  • Sorry, that one won't fly.
    Linspire is grabage, worse than pure M$.
    With it's glaring security failures and it running already flakey M$ apps, it's doomed to fail. I hope Linspire goes the way of the Dodo and soon. I know people who tried it and were so turned off by that they said they will never again even consider trying any other Linux distro. It's such a poor product that the company should be sued and the big shots do the perp walk..

    • What MS apps? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by the_rajah (749499) * on Monday January 10, 2005 @12:36AM (#11307759) Homepage
      Appearantly you've not tried it yourself. There are no MS apps that come with it. While I understand what you are saying about some security issues relating to root access, I have installed Linspire [linspire.com] 4.5, on multiple machines and found it to be easy to install, easy to add/remove applications to and found it to be quite serviceable. You can easily add users so as to avoid running as root.

      I've really got to give Michael Roberts a lot of credit for his attempt to get the average user away from the grips of Microsoft, spam, viruses and malware. When my son's P4 HP Pavilion ground to a halt with malware, I loaned him an old PII-266 running Linspire 4.5 while I roto-rootered his Windows machine. He and his wife were able to start using it for surfing and e-mail with about 2 minutes training. It worked just fine with winmodem for dialup access, too. Now I'm having trouble getting it back from him.

      I'm currently running SuSE 9.2 myself and have experience with RedHat, Fedora, Mandrake, Knoppix and Xandros as well as Linspire. No Linspire doesn't have as much geek appeal, but it's a reasonably good product IMHO. Oh, and no, I have no affiliation with Linspire [linspire.com] in any way other than as someone who's tried it.

      "Do the Right Thing. It will gratify some people and astound the rest." - Mark Twain
  • by Toe, The (545098) on Monday January 10, 2005 @12:06AM (#11307630)
    I guess we're safe for another year.

    Pshwew!
  • My prediction (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stratjakt (596332)
    In january 2006, noone will remember, much less give a rats ass about, what Cringley "predicted" a year prior.
  • man RXC never ceases to amaze me with asshettery

    I said Apple wouldn't introduce a G6 in 2004 (right) and wouldn't sell as many G5s as it would like, either (right again).

    Well im sure apple would have *like* to sell 50 G5 macs to every man, woman, child, and house pet on planet earth... Its easy to be right when you leave yourself an ocean to drown in there Bobbo.
  • Microsoft's entry into the anti-virus and anti-spyware businesses will be a disaster for users. This is based on everything I know about Microsoft, having watched the company for almost 28 years.

    --Gee, why haven't more people noticed this trend!?

    Carrying over from last year, I predict that Burst.com will beat Microsoft in their current lawsuit...Microsoft DID violate their patents, DID violate Burst's non-disclosure agreement, DID attempt to illegally put them out of business, and DID attempt to control
  • by bani (467531) on Monday January 10, 2005 @12:53AM (#11307811)
    cringely claims a lot of things, but you shouldn't always believe him [stanforddaily.com].
  • by tuxter (809927) on Monday January 10, 2005 @01:28AM (#11307940) Journal
    Predict that a lot of people will get it wrong this year.
  • by sane? (179855) on Monday January 10, 2005 @04:02AM (#11308437)
    OK, in the spirit of looking back, here is what I predicted last year here on /. together with what I think will happen this time

    # ipod and mini ipod will be hit by a wave of cheap replacements that both allow you to store/play music AND video. These will integrate with mobile phones (2G).

    Well, there were loads of attempts to replace the ipod, and many had colour screens and video. However the integration with the mobile phone was only half hearted and virtually all failed to beat Apple on the sexiness front. Its strange really, the ipod ISN'T that great to use, but it has an x factor where the others don't. And others development methodologies seem to be unable to work in the right way to replicate what should be easy.

    # Multi processor machines will begin to take off in the business environment. Single user, multi machine setups will smooth the rollout of Linux/OpenOffice and make people more productive.

    Maybe not 2004, but the rise of the dual core and virtualisation as the way forward during this year has laid the groundwork. So in one sense it was a win since the future IS away from the single core. Nobody was there to do the obvious; place a dual processor box on the desktop for those that wanted to be ahead of the game.

    # Appliances that take advantage of home broadband links and WiFi will take off.

    Surprisingly little has come out in this domain, certainly in the mainstream. Market penetration is there, but not the new devices.

    # Microsoft will get scared, and will run towards early launch of XBox 2 as a home machine. Failure will spell the fall of Microsoft.

    I think microsoft ARE scared, and they will be launching the XBox2 earlier than the PS3, but they are still too slow to catch the wave. Given the horribly late delivery of Longhorn, with much less in the way of capability than promised - I do think we have seen the beginning of the fall of the house of Microsoft.

    # The Apple House will be unveiled

    Nope, Apple still think they are a computer company, rather than a consumer electronics company. The door which was open to them is slowly closing. Once someone works out how to replicate their design wins, they are toast. Very poor strategy choices from Jobs here.

    What are the lessons? Well, its obvious that the industry has significantly slowed down. People aren't moving far or fast to develop new markets. The bean counters and marketing geeks are looking backward at what was, not at what could be. Ordinarily this would be a time of great opportunity, a time when those with a vision could create new startups and have the time to build big enough businesses. However with the extent and misuse of patents, large companies can sit on such innovation to the detriment of the market as a whole. That creates a degree of pent up tension in the market that has to resolve eventually. Will we see it in 2005? Probably not, but the offensive use of patents, coupled with lazy bean counting approaches to commerce will become a festering issue.

    What will we see then?

    The open source community will start to switch from reproduction of existing elements, to creation of new solutions, possibly involving hardware. The time is right for those with vision to tie up with those with skills to create new markets - it just needs an instigator.

    Outsourcing is winning many new business friends, but as is usual with these director types, the distance and lack of control threatens their position ("what value are you really adding"). Therefore expect the multinationals to attempt to create greater levers of control into the outsourced functions - which will go down like a lead balloon with China.

    China will come out with a DRM free, cheap, HDTV compatible replacement for BluRay and HD DVD. It will be a low cost addon to existing cheap DVD players. Movie companies will hate it, but the world isn't as it once was. Coupled with cracking of the protection around the new forma

  • by illumin8 (148082) on Monday January 10, 2005 @04:50AM (#11308542) Journal
    I really like #3 in this list:

    3) Apple will take a big risk in 2005. This could be in the form of a major acquisition. With almost $6 billion in cash, Steve Jobs hinted to a group of employees not long ago that he might want to buy something big, though I am at a loss right now for what that might be. 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.

    We might see that as early as next week with the rumored introduction of an el-cheapo Mac without a display. The price for that box is supposed to be $499, which would give customers a box with processor, disk, memory, and OS into which you plug your current display, keyboard, and mouse. Given that this sounds a lot like AMD's new Personal Internet Communicator, which will sell for $185, there is probably plenty of profit left for Apple in a $499 price. But what if they priced it at $399 or even $349? Now make it $249, where I calculate they'd be losing $100 per unit. At $100 per unit, how many little Macs could they sell if Jobs is willing to spend $1 billion? TEN MILLION and Apple suddenly becomes the world's number one PC company. Think of it as a non-mobile iPod with computing capability. Think of the music sales it could spawn. Think of the iPod sales it would hurt (zero, because of the lack of mobility). Think of the more expensive Mac sales it would hurt (zero, because a Mac loyalist would only be interested in using this box as an EXTRA computer they would otherwise not have bought). Think of the extra application sales it would generate and especially the OS upgrade sales, which alone could pay back that $100. Think of the impact it would have on Windows sales (minus 10 million units). And if it doesn't work, Steve will still have $5 billion in cash with no measurable negative impact on the company. I think he'll do it.


    Just because you want it to happen doesn't mean it's going to happen. Bob Cringely seems to quite often second guess major industry players and try to predict what they're going to do, but let me just ask you this one question:

    Has Apple ever sold a computer and taken a loss on it?

    Also, if Apple were to sell 10 million of these things, that's a $1 billion loss, but what if people love the cheap price and they "accidentally" sell 50 million of them? That's a $5 billion loss and now he's almost bankrupted the company. Of course, they could make it up on iPod sales, but they can't run the company on only iPod sales profits.

    Good article, BTW.
  • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Monday January 10, 2005 @05:25AM (#11308657) Journal
    Cringley talking about VOIP and PBXes got me thinking:

    VOIP unlimited calling plan: $19.99/mo
    2-phone cell plan with unlimited mobile-to-mobile minutes: $49.99/mo

    Connect one cell to your computer and leave it at home; take the other with you. Use PBX software to rig up a bridge between your VOIP and the home cell. Use the home cell as a gateway between your roaming cell and the VOIP number, abusing the free mobile-to-mobile minutes.

    Poof! Unlimited cellular anytime minutes to/from anywhere in the US, and low VOIP rates on all your international calls, for $69.98 per month. If you're a heavy user of anytime minutes or international calls, the savings could add up very fast. At least until the phone company figures out what you are doing...

  • Apple's market share (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chiph (523845) on Monday January 10, 2005 @11:05AM (#11309942)
    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.

    I'd personally like to see this happen. I was at the local Apple store this weekend looking at Power Macs. I thought overnight about making a purchase (one just doesn't make impulse buys at $3000), and ultimately decided against buying one.

    My reasons pretty much came down to: I didn't think it was a good value. I mean, I've paid less for a car!

    I'm still interested in buying one, but maybe I'll look on eBay or buy one of their refurb models. I like the idea of a *nix system that has a GUI that actually works (sorry X.11, but I've never liked you).

    Chip H.

Don't steal; thou'lt never thus compete successfully in business. Cheat. -- Ambrose Bierce

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