Posey's Tips & Tricks

My Predictions for 2014: Apple's Popularity Drops, Microsoft Continues Transformation

Also watch for network virtualization to continue to grow and Office 365 to undergo a makeover in the coming year.

About a year ago I sat down and wrote out my technology predictions for 2013. I had so much fun doing that (and looking back to see which predictions came true) that I decided to keep the tradition alive and write about my predictions for 2014.

Apple Becomes Uncool
My first prediction is that Apple will begin to lose some of its cool points in 2014. I know what you're thinking. This is a Redmond blog and I'm a Microsoft MVP. Of course I am going to bash Apple, right?

Please believe me when I say that this prediction is based around a logical thought process and is not based on emotion or any kind of personal bias against Apple. Those who read my writings on a regular basis know that vendor bashing has never been my style.

With that said, here is my reasoning behind the prediction. Ever since the tragic loss of Steve Jobs, Apple has been less innovative. Yes, there is new innovation that goes into each new product, but none of the recent innovation seems to have that "wow" factor. Meanwhile, competitors are innovating like crazy trying to dethrone Apple.

The other reason why I think that Apple will lose some of their cool points in 2014 has to do with market saturation. A few years ago, the iPhone and the iPad were the hot, new, must-have gadgets. Today, almost everyone has an iPhone or an iPad. The devices have gone from being enviable to being commonplace.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Apple devices are going away any time soon. I am only predicting that iOS devices will cease to be the must-have gadget of the moment. I tend to think of iOS devices kind of like a Honda Accord or a Toyota Camry. Both are good, reliable cars, but they are so commonplace that they don't turn any heads.

Microsoft Has a Major Restructuring
My second prediction is that Microsoft will undergo a major restructuring this year. Now that Steve Ballmer will be resigning, the new CEO is going to seriously have his or her work cut out for them. I look for Microsoft to take some big risks with its consumer products in an effort to regain market share. I also think that Microsoft is going to double down on their business product line.

Network Virtualization Becomes the Norm
A few years ago server virtualization was the hot enterprise technology. Last year there was a really big emphasis on storage virtualization. I think that 2014 will be the year of network virtualization and software-defined networking.

I think that the adoption of private clouds will be a major trend in 2014 and that the shift to private clouds will be a driving force behind software-defined networking going mainstream. I also think that there will probably be vendors who build virtualized network security layers and offer security products specifically for those who use network virtualization.

Office 365 Gets a Major Makeover
Another prediction is that we will see an Office 365 makeover in 2014. In 2013, Microsoft announced its three-tiered vision for the cloud, which included on premise private clouds, Windows Azure and services such as Office 365.

Microsoft seems to be investing heavily in establishing interoperability between these three cloud tiers. That being the case, I think that Microsoft is going to switch up the Office 365 interface to make it more similar to that of the other two tiers. My guess is that a year from now the Office 365 interface will strongly resemble Windows Azure.

Xbox One Gets Productivity Apps
I'm really going to go out on a limb with my last prediction and say something that many people will probably find crazy. I think that in 2014 we are going to start seeing productivity apps for Xbox One. Let me explain.

Microsoft's vision has long been to deliver one experience across many devices. Xbox One is clearly built with that vision in mind. The interface has a strong resemblance to Windows 8 and Internet Explorer works really well on Xbox One.

Xbox One is far more than just a gaming console. It is also an entertainment portal and also delivers PC-like capabilities. In fact, there are already apps that can be run on Xbox One. In an effort to make the experience a bit better-rounded, I think that Microsoft will deliver a lightweight mail client for Xbox One sometime in 2014. I also would not be surprised to see document viewers made available for the console.

So there you have it. Those are some of my technology predictions for 2014. I will revisit this list in a year and we will see how I did.

About the Author

Brien Posey is a seven time Microsoft MVP with over two decades of IT experience. As a freelance writer, Posey has written many thousands of articles and written or contributed to several dozen books on a wide variety of IT topics. Prior to going freelance, Posey was a CIO for a national chain of hospitals and healthcare facilities. He has also served as a network administrator for some of the country's largest insurance companies and for the Department of Defense at Fort Knox. When He isn't busy writing, Brien Posey enjoys exotic travel, scuba diving, and racing his Cigarette boat. You can visit his personal Web site at: www.brienposey.com.

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