Microsoft's Top 10 Milestones for 2005By Channel Insider Staff | Posted 2005-01-02 Email Print
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Opinion: It's time to polish up the crystal ball, gaze through the cloudy skies encircling Redmond and make some predictions for the new year.Some folks seem to think Microsoft was humbled by its legal and technology challenges in 2004. But I disagree. I don't see a kinder or gentler Microsoft emerging in 2005.
After watching the Softies for two decades, I can tell you they are hardly ready to roll over. There's still a lot of plotting and scheming happening in Redmond's hallowed halls. And that will make the coming year anything but predictable. Nonetheless, predict, I will try.
I have a tough act to follow, given how surprisingly accurate I was in my 2004 predictions. Either I just made my guesstimates too obvious, or I was lucky (or both). I predicted no Yukon or Whidbey until 2005; no Longhorn until 2006; no Microsoft CRM 2.0 in 2004 (check); and that Microsoft would create a new program to undercut Linux in international markets (check Windows Starter Edition).
With that aside, what will be the big Microsoft milestones in 2005? Here are my best guesses:
1. The European Union antitrust remedies will be ineffectual, and ultimately, overturned.
Who is going to want to buy a product known as
2. Microsoft will pay off Novell and Real Networks, as part of Redmond's campaign to clean up its lingering lawsuits.
Novell must have considered Microsoft's $500-million-plus settlement with the company inadequate. Why else dredge up a
3. Microsoft will add a handful of new countries to its XP Starter Edition program, while continuing to insist that it is seeding international markets for humanitarian, not competitive, reasons.
So far, there are five stripped-down, cut-rate Starter Editions on the market: In India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Russia and Thailand. We expect to see a handful more in the coming year, but with fewer mentions of Linux and piracy attached to them. Microsoft says Starter Edition versions are for users who've never owned a PC before. But it's worth noting that the Starter Edition concept didn't get its start until Linux began making inroads into this entry-level market.
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