2012 Predictions for the IT Industry -- Part One

Disclaimer: Predicting the future is a black art. It is in fact conceivable that one or more of these predictions may not come true. January

  • Having said, in December, that health care reform requires a "Windows-like platform," Microsoft pre-announces WinHealth 1.0, promising a demo "eventually." Hospitals across America scramble to change their entire IT strategies.
  • Having declared its intention to ban all email use by its employees, IT company Atos announces some of the details: in phase one, employees will use only Jabber, Facebook, and Twitter internally. The details are announced in an email message to the employees and the press.
  • Apple announces that, while Steve Jobs had said he was willing to spend $40B on the patent litigation with Google over Android, they are, as a gesture in honor of his memory, doubling that amount to $80B.
  • HP announces its latest new direction: they will revive the WebOS platform by merging it with PalmOS. "By combining the best features of two failed operating systems, we believe we can give consumers the best failed system ever," says CEO Meg Whitman.

February

  • Microsoft is at pains to remind potential customers that WinHealth 1.0 is only a prototype, but by the end of the month, 2/3 of the hospitals in America have already signed on.
  • Buoyed by the success of Office 365 and Kinect, two of the most successful products in the company's history, Microsoft announces "Kinect 365," a revolutionary product that allows office workers to keep in shape while they work, using their entire bodies to control office applications.
  • A minor slip on Facebook allows all Atos employees to learn that CEO Thierry Breton's nephew has been arrested for public indecency at the Paris zoo. The company quickly decrees that employees need to use separate Facebook accounts for their work and private lives, with the work account names beginning with "atos-" to clarify their role.
  • Apple's patent attorneys petition congress for a visa exemption to bring in patent attorneys from other countries. "We just can't hire them fast enough," says CEO Tim Cook.
  • HP announces that it is killing the newly announced WebPalm merged operating system. "We were just kidding," says CEO Meg Whitman. "We really meant to focus on WebOS all along. Um, or was it Palm?"
  • IBM testifies before congress that there's no need for more H-1 visas allowing foreign engineers to work in the US. "American talent can compete with any in the world," says CEO Ginni Rometty. Congress, impressed, shelves the visa issue. As IBM stock hits 200, Rometty begins a three month tour of IBM's operations in India and China.

March

  • The first production version of WinHealth -- inexplicably numbered WinHealth 3.1 -- is released. A major limitation is that it only allows doctors to treat one patient at a time, although Microsoft points out that this wouldn't be a problem if doctors would just use a different computer for each patient. The system uses a blue screen to indicate a patient's death, which doctors and techies find amusing, but not patients or their families.
  • Using the handy new "atos-" naming convention, Atos' competitors (and recruiters) find that they can quickly identify and communicate with all Atos employees on Facebook, leading to a massive raid on Atos' talent. Atos announces they will be moving to LinkedIn. The announcement is made by email.
  • Google announces a dollar-for-dollar match with Apple's spending on the Android-related patent lawsuits. "May the company with the deepest pockets win," says Eric Schmidt.
  • The New York Times pioneers a new business model by requiring all visitors to their site to pay for their content, unless they type "pretty please" into a secure dialog box. "This ensures that no one will have access to our content without paying," said a spokesman, "unless they really, truly want it."

Part Two of my predictions may be found here.

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