2002: The Year in Preview - Page 2
In the courts, 2002 should see the settlement of the Microsoft anti-trust case, and whether the company will be able to continue in its current form. Microsoft is preparing for new battles outside of the courtroom as well. Apparently taking the line that they have tamed the Novell animal, Microsoft appear to be turning their attention to perhaps the only serious threat to their domination of the OS market -- Linux. In a leaked document, Brian Valentine, Senior Vice President of the Microsoft Windows Division, encourages account managers to visit customers and find out if they are using, or considering using Linux. There is even talk of a Unix/Linux escalation team that can help sales staff with experience in ""winning against Unix and Linux"". All this seems a far cry from times gone by when Microsoft pretty much discounted Linux as a major OS.
Although many companies have entered 2002 in a much leaner configuration than before, there is still no slowdown in development on practically every front; from the desktop to the airwaves.
AMD started the year brightly with the announcement of their new Athlon XP processor 2000+. Naming the two most popular PC operating systems in the name of the chip is an unusual but smart move that will have consumers making an association between the two products. Who cares about 'Intel inside' when you can have a processor called XP in your system that's running XP? AMD look set to close the year on a high as well with the forecast introduction of their first 64-bit "hammer" processor in Q4.
From a consumer's perspective, 2002 should be a year of more attentiveness and competitiveness as businesses work ever harder to compete for your IT dollar. This means better deals on hardware and software, and services such as ISP accounts and cell plans with Web access. While we are on the subject of wireless, 2002 will likely see a further increase in the use of wireless access of all types, though whether the technology can shake the "insecure" tag only time will tell.
2002 will also see the return of Napster, though whether they will be able to muscle in to the paid-for music download market will remain to be seen. Other sites like PressPlay are now up and running in this sector, and whether there are enough people willing to pay for music downloads is still not clear. For those using this type of service, the method of choice for transporting the music will move away from the conventional memory based MP3 players and toward hard disk based devices like the Apple iPod and the Archos Jukebox. Apple recently announced that they had sold 125,000 of their natty little music players, and that's before a version for Windows platforms is available.
Whatever 2002 holds, I'm sure I join with everyone in hoping that it will be a more peaceful and prosperous year than 2001.
Drew Bird (MCT, MCNI) is a freelance instructor and technical writer. He has been working in the IT industry for over 12 years and currently lives in Kelowna, BC., Canada..