Prediction #1 - Mainstream *nix adoption
I remember making a prediction, in 2003, to many of my friends that Microsoft's domination of the desktop will disappear in 5 years. Now, I'm predicting that 2007 is the year that everything changes and it's all due to the efforts of Microsoft.
a) Vista raises the BOM cost by 20%.
Due to the overwhelming number of "day coders" now working at Microsoft, Vista lacks the "elegance" that is exhibited in other mainstream OSes. However, this is usually not noticed by normal users. But, when it translates into a 20% increase in Bill-of-Materials cost, people (especially businesses) will start to notice. This number is released by iSuppli, the people who take apart everything to estimate BOM cost. This doesn't even take into the account the cost of a Vista license itself yet.
b) Vista comes with nothing new.
Of the 3 main pillars (Indigo, WinFS, Avalon) that were announced for Vista years ago, only Avalon (flashy graphics interface) has made it into Vista. Essentially, Vista is an XP service pack, to accomodate a flashy graphis interface. But Microsoft can't possibly beat the king of flashy interfaces, Apple. Business customers have no reason to upgrade (at an increased cost) for nothing but flashy graphics (that do not improve productivity in any way).
c) Vista shows that Microsoft has lost the plot.
Windows is an operating system. However, Vista has focused wrongly and turned into a DRM infested, IP restricting piece of Spyware. I don't know a single user who would willingly allow themselves to be chained and locked behind it. According to IDC, this will backfire on Microsoft. As a user, I should be able to do whatever I want with my PC and not have the PC tell me what I can/cannot do with it. Why should I let my PC decide whether or not I'm allowed to watch a movie that I bought for the 6th time, or play the music that I bought for the 10th time.
d) *Nix going mainstream
Users are no longer averse to *nix these days as evidenced by the stellar sales performance of Apple Macbooks for 2006. The stability and security of *nix, provides for a more pleasant user experience. Imagine, never having to worry about virii or spyware, never having to bother with re-installing your OS and never having to reboot your computer. Just watch the "Mac vs PC" ads on YouTube!
Linux has also got Microsoft running scared. Anyone following the MS-Novell scandal, should have figured this out by now. Anything built as "labours of love" will certainly outdo any "run of the mill" output. It's like a hand-made-tailored suit versus an off-the-shelf-machined suit. Now, if the custom suit is free, all the better, no? That's the bit that's got MS scared. Linux is the main threat to their business model - charging sh*tloads of money for run-of-the-mill cr*p.
So, to all my friends who're looking to upgrade their computer in the near future, I've the following recommendations:
1) Get a Mac.
It's affordable. In most cases, it's even cheaper than a comparable Dell with similar specs. Also, it's a much better designed machine than a Dell. It's a fashion/lifestyle statement, not just a computer. Or if you have to get a Dell, remember to ask for the Windows refund.
2) Install Linux/Unix.
There are so many affordable (as in free beer) Linux distributions on the market. Ubuntu will even mail you a bunch of installation CDs for free. So, there isn't any reason not to give it a try. Linux has come a long way, in terms of making it's user interface suitable for normal users.
Freedom has never felt so good.
PS: I seem to be infected by the phd "reference" bug.