About a year ago, I did a "predictions" column,
meaning it's time to revisit my predictions and see if I have
the credibility to make more predictions. I'll review my past predictions
and grade them below, then give you a few new ones. (One prediction is
making it possible for us to offer LindowsOS for the incredible
of $25 and to deliver it faster than ever to customers using the
latest P2P technology.)
Although several ultra-low cost LindowsOS computer offerings did happen, we
did not see this come to pass. Several computer stores are now selling
$199 LindowsOS computers including Fry's and Walmart.com.
buyers can purchase a computer for $12.50 per week and use a prepaid
calling card for Internet access. That's not quite free, but we're
getting closer. Still, I was off the mark on this one.
Last year's predictions:
1) PCs will cost $0
Microsoft Windows XP Lite
A year ago, I predicted
that Microsoft would be forced to create XP Lite to compete with Linux.
That's exactly what is happening. See: Microsoft readies XP-Lite to keep
Linux out of Asia. XP Lite is debuting in emerging markets, and it will take some time
to hit the U.S.
Right (1 for 2)
Linux Adoption Will Achieve 10%
Most of the experts pin desktop Linux
marketshare at 3% or basically on par with the Apple Macintosh
population. It's taken longer then I predicted to build up the
distribution network which makes LindowsOS computers available on
store shelves so the public can purchase them.
Over the last few
months, Lindows.com has been able to
expand channel developments with
companies like ECS and Seagate and announced more than 1000 stores in
North America carrying LindowsOS computers, which could lead to much
larger numbers of desktop Linux computers. I'm more confident than
ever that desktop Linux will grow beyond 10%. But it's going to take a
bit more time.
Wrong (1 for 3)
4) Return of the Windows Wars
With heavyweights like Novell and Sun
joining the desktop fray, you're seeing a new battle emerge. Recent
articles in many major technology,
and even business publications like BusinessWeek, are now taking
seriously and reporting reinvigorated competition around windowing
Right (2 for 4)
2 for 4 isn't so bad. I figure the XPlite prediction alone should give
me some credibility to give you 4 more predictions.
1) Software and Movie Companies Embrace P2P = Cheaper Products For
People hear 'P2P' and they think 'file sharing anarchy' - especially
content companies. But that's just one facet of the technology and
there are new ways to think about P2P that are positive. Lindows
announced that we've set up our own P2P servers, not to give away free
files for promotion but to help us sell and deliver our commercial
software. We're saving a tremendous amount of money, giving better
service to our customers and expanding by 10 times or more the number
of customers we can serve -- with identical infrastructure costs, which
means we can offer our products at much lower rates. It simply makes
great economic sense for everyone! All companies delivering larger
files, such as big software titles, video games and movies will
absolutely be leveraging P2P over the next year. You can read more
about why we went this direction and why I believe others will, by
checking out our news release.
2) Microsoft Moves From Growth To Profit
Microsoft has enjoyed a tremendous monopoly and parlayed that into
spectacular growth. Desktop Linux is now starting to give them pricing
pressures which they haven't had for a long time. (See prediction #2
above!) Every desktop that Microsoft loses to desktop Linux means no XP
royalty (approx $100) and if you figure another $100 loss in revenue
other applications (Microsoft Office, Visio, Frontpage, etc.), that's
$200 of lost revenue. At those numbers, a 100,000 unit deployment of
desktop Linux translates into $20 million in lost revenue for Microsoft. To stop
the advancement of desktop Linux, they can sell XP Lite but that also
means substantially less revenue for Microsoft as well. Microsoft has
find another monopoly (smart phones, ISPs, PDAs, set top boxes, TV,
watches??, etc.), but other industries are aware of Microsoft's tactics
and are wary of working with them. The monopoly Microsoft created is a
once-in-a-lifetime occurrence that they will not be able to duplicate.
will be viewed as a profit company -- still generating huge amounts of
cash -- but no longer viewed as a growth story.
3) $499 Linux laptops Under The Christmas Tree
Many want this to happen because they believe that PC ownership
will explode if
laptops can hit this price point. The greater volumes
of laptops being sold will enable lower costs for components, and
running desktop Linux is the only factor that will allow these units to
hit this price target.
This would be great.
4) Microsoft Announces Plans for Microsoft Office For Linux
Ok, this isn't my prediction - it's from my President, Kevin Carmony. He
believes that Microsoft will be forced to acquiesce to the inevitable
growth of desktop Linux. Rather than lose all revenue streams, they'll
try to hold onto the core application monies by porting their office
suite to Linux. My belief is that they're so threatened by desktop
Linux attacking their monopoly stronghold on the desktop that they will
do nothing that could be perceived to endorse it. By the time
they come around to the fact that it's happening without them (or even
in spite of them), it will be too late and products such as OpenOffice
and StarOffice will have dominant positions. It will be intriguing to
watch who is right on this one - I've got a lunch bet riding on it.
Who is going to win lunch - my President or me? Have better
predictions? Let me hear them by adding your comments on our
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