Wednesday, March 14, 2012

State of the Tech Industry: Sort Of.

Here's my two-cent predictions:  Keep in mind that I don't own stock or any vested interest in any tech company.  My employer is a partner of Microsoft, VMware, Cisco, HP, NetApp, and others.  We work on all major platforms, and my personal role is in the area of software deployment automation and business systems automation.  We don't sell hardware or software.  We sell services.  Ok, enough of the disclaimer crap...

Regardless of the blabbering from all of the Android tablet vendors, Apple will remain comfortably in the lead of the tablet market for at least the next two years (out to 2014 at least).  Android tablets won't even match it in terms of sales or market share (for similar form factors).  iPad will remain on top of the market for a long time to come.  This isn't just my view.  It's also the view of most major tech industry analysts.

Microsoft will make major gains in server virtualization when Windows 8 Server Hyper-V ships, which will cause EMC/VMware to cut prices and shift their pawns on the board to avoid losing customers.  Cost alone will be a huge weapon, especially when reviews start pouring in about Hyper-V's improved features, scalability, reliability and uptake.

Microsoft will make smaller, but noticeable, gains in market-share against Oracle with SQL Server 2012.  The new features and capabilities, combined with the much cheaper cost, will be hard for cost-conscious customers to ignore.  It will be slow gains at first though.

Flexera Software will continue to prosper from the looming death of Wise Package Studio and the ignorant stupidity of Symantec.  There is now an effective monopoly in the software packaging and repackaging market, but it's under the RADAR of almost everyone, so they will slide through comfortably to a nice profit margin.  More businesses are adopting FlexLM and FlexNet Manager products as well, so support revenues will continue to grow at modest rates.

Windows 8 uptake will be slow but respectable in the consumer market.  In the business/enterprise market however, it will be negligible.  Not because it's a bad product or anything like that.  Here's why:  Most businesses are JUST NOW ramping up to migrated to Windows 7, which has bumped up budgets for hardware replacements, additional memory, hard drives, and other bandaids.  Most of them are in a position in 2012 where they're either far enough into Windows 7, that it makes no sense to shift into Windows 8 within the next year at the soonest.  Add to that those that are still on XP who see what Windows 8 CP reviews are shaping up to be.  It's being perceived as a pure consumer play.  Tablets.  Not for business desktops or laptops.  Some will buy it, but nowhere near has significantly as Windows 7 has seen.

Now, Windows 8 Server will be a different ball game entirely.  I see that making significant gains in late 2012 and early 2013.  Mainly because (A) a lot of customers have stayed on Windows Server 2008 and waited out R2, and (B) the new features in Windows Server 8 will woo a lot of them to skip R2 entirely, which wouldn't be a bad move.  There's nothing wrong with R2, but let's face it: There are few, if any, "gotta have" features in it for most businesses as it relates to the upgrade cost.  Windows Server 8, on the other hand, packs a pretty big punch.  The bang for the buck is on the side of Windows Server 8:
  • Hyper-V 3.0 (with concurrent Live Migration, VHDX, etc.)
  • Disk Data Dedupe
  • AD integrated KMS activation
  • DHCP redundancy
  • Improved Clustering and Cluster Shared Volumes
  • Claims Based Authentication
  • SMB 2.2
  • AD DC cloning
  • Improved Branch Cache
  • NIC Teaming
  • Enhanced PowerShell 3.0 features (web interface, Intelli-Sense, etc.)  In fact, the entire OS is written CMD shell first, and GUI afterwards.  Sound familiar?
  • A newer, leaner Core edition
  • Trevor Pott does a good job of itemizing Windows Server 8.  Check it out.
Bing will continue to lose money for Microsoft, but they'll play a shuffle game with other OSD projects and roll in Xbox, Ad services, and Metro and make it confusing to isolate which hole is sucking the most revenue.

Someone will buy RIM, kill off the product line (Blackberry) and rape the IP treasure chest.  There's no future value in the products themselves anymore, but the patents are worth a ton.  Wouldn't it be poetically ironic if NTP were to acquire RIM?

Symantec and McAfee will soon begin the long, slow, depressing march to their deaths.  With Microsoft rolling ForeFront and Security Essentials evermore tightly into their products, at little or no cost to consumers, those one-trick ponies will be searching for new revenue streams, probably stepping into the Linux services market like Novell tried.  Look how well that worked for them.

We'll either keep Obama or get a new president, but nothing will change for any of us regular working folks. It never does.  It never will either.  Just keep watching your favorite TV show or sports games, that will keep you distracted and happy.

We'll continue to hear about Iran in the news for a long time to come, but the U.S. will do nothing militarily against them directly.  It will be another year of lip service.

Someone will find, capture or kill Kony.  Another Kony-clone will pop up within 15 minutes to replace him.

Gas prices will continue to fluctuate, but gradually rise through the Summer.  We will all bitch and moan like babies, but swipe our credit cards and fill up like good sheep.  Congress will pretend to "haul" the oil company executives in front of "panels" on TV, to act like they're slapping them around, only to appeal to voters and win another term.  Ultimately, nothing will happen to the oil companies and we will be happy to give them more of our money like good sheep do.

It's March 14, 2012.  Check back on this March 14, 2013 and see how well I predicted this mess.


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