Seven Predictions for 2008

A fearless glimpse into the year ahead: Intel, the desktop, the iPhone, Linux, and, of course, the ever-present spam.


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The time is rapidly approaching when I’ll start getting asked for a list of predictions for 2008. Rather than wait to be put on the spot, this year I’ve decided to come up with my list in advance. That way not only am I avoiding those uncomfortable “uhmmms” and awkward silences, but I also give you extra time to forget my predictions, so that this time next year I’m not held accountable for what I said.

So, without further ado, let me present my seven predictions for 2008.

1) Linux on the desktop will get some more good breaks, but the “Year of Linux” is still a long way off.

Linux has enjoyed a number of successes this year. Ubuntu has risen out of the pool of distros and stood out as the first credible incarnation of Linux with any chance of swaying Windows and Mac users over to the free side. Dell, along with a few other OEMs, has decided that Linux is finally mature enough to offer alongside Windows. We’ve also seen Wal-mart push a fully-featured PC for $200, something that wouldn’t be possible without Linux.

But for all this success, and more guaranteed for next year, 2008 won’t be the “Year of Linux.” Partly this is down to user apathy and a resistance to change that goes so far that people would rather pay Microsoft or Apple blindly rather than even entertain the notion of change. But another factor working against Linux is Apple. Now that Steve Jobs is out to mop up as many disaffected Windows users as possible, this is going to stall Linux adoption over the coming years.

2) Watch out Mac users, hackers are after you!

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Apple’s market share is growing, thanks to clever advertising and dissatisfied Windows users hoping that Mac OS will be easier to take care of than Windows was. Problem is that these users are bringing their gullible, click on anything mentality with them. This means that social engineering tricks that worked on a certain segment of Windows users are now primed to work on those same users who’ve migrated to the Mac.

Mac user’s lives will get more complex next year.

3) No matter how cool you think your current iPhone is, iPhone 2.0 will make you hate it.

Did you stand in line for hours and pay through the nose just to be the first to own what millions now have? Well, no matter how cool you think your iPhone is, and no matter how much you think it has revolutionized your digital life, iPhone 2.0 will come along at some point during the summer next year and make it seem old, out-dated and, well, frankly, rubbish. All those first generation bugs, flaws and omissions (the bugs, flaws and omissions you worked so hard to shut your mind to) will be fixed and the iPhone MKII will be hard for even the critics to resist.

4) Expect DRM to have a tighter stranglehold over your digital life.

Don’t be suckered into thinking that DRM is going away any time soon just because Steve Jobs and executives in the music and movie industry are making anti-DRM noises. DRM has nothing to do with preventing piracy; it’s a way of taking consumer’s fair use rights away and licensing them back to them for a fee. As the content download market becomes more competitive, companies such as Apple will fight to protect and maintain their monopoly over users.

Continued: Vista, AMD vs. Intel, and your in-box

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