Foley on Microsoft

Microsoft Prognostications: What's Up in 2007?

Which of these will you hold your breath for?

It's that time of year again for eggnog-laced predictions about what Microsoft should, could and just might do in the new year.

This time around, I've decided to break my traditional Top 10 predictions list in two: One half being what I consider relatively safe and well-considered bets on what Microsoft is likely to do (and is likely to fail to do) in 2007, and the other my out-on-a-limb list of Microsoft predictions.

Five (Relatively) Safe Bets:

1. Microsoft will manage to ship Longhorn Server in 2007. (And maybe even Vista Service Pack 1 to go along with it.) A few months back, Microsoft quietly slipped the expected arrival date of Longhorn Server from the first half of 2007 to the second half. Beta 3 is looking like it will hit in the first quarter, as expected. And tester feedback has been unusually positive.

2. Visual Studio "Orcas" will slip into 2008. While most developers and partners with whom I've spoken consider Visual Studio "Orcas" to be a 2007 deliverable, few Microsoft developer division officials have called the product "Visual Studio 2007." I'm hearing rumblings of an early 2008 product.

3. First-year Windows Vista sales will stall. Many PC makers and resellers still aren't promoting Vista. Many can't answer even basic questions about which machines will and won't run the various Vista SKUs. Granted, Microsoft moves the bulk of Windows copies via OEM preloads, not retail sales -- but I'm still doubtful.

Foley on Microsoft

4. Mini-Microsoft will be outed (or just drop out). Microsoft's infamous anonymous blogger, who is known for stumping for a leaner, meaner Microsoft, has been wavering a lot over the past year as to whether he (we know the person is male) will continue in his role as Microsoft's conscience. I foresee 2007 as the year that Microsoft gets tougher on its bloggers.

5. Microsoft won't buy Yahoo! or AOL (or Google, for that matter). Wall Street will predict that Microsoft will buy a Web-centric powerhouse to shore up its own MSN/Windows Live unit. So many seem to forget that Windows, Office, development tools and server products are the cash cows for the foreseeable future.

Five "What the Heck was She Thinking (and Drinking)" Predictions:

1. Microsoft starts selling Oracle services. If Microsoft really wants to mess with Oracle, what better way than to offer paid support for disenfranchised Oracle users. Maybe they should just offer support for customers unhappy with Oracle's Red Hat support. There are sure to be a few of those ...

2. Microsoft does a Novell-type deal with Sun: co-markets Solaris as "Winix." Lately, a few market watchers have said that, in datacenters, at least, Solaris is gaining on Linux. What if Microsoft decided to give its nearly three-year-old collaboration agreement with Sun some teeth and take Solaris off Sun's hands in order to lock up the high-performance market?

3. J Allard is appointed to head Windows Mobile and brings his Midas touch to phones. Why not give the Xbox and Zune MP3 player wizard a true challenge: Propel Microsoft's mobile unit into the stratosphere?

4. Adobe will sue Microsoft. Adobe almost sued Microsoft in June -- if you believe the press reports -- but didn't actually pull the trigger. But once Microsoft ships its Expression design tools (meant to compete with Dreamweaver et al) and Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere (WPF/e) Flash-killer in 2007, watch Adobe's legal department kick into action.

5. Microsoft is forced to rescue Novell from angry GPLers. I've been leery of the Microsoft-Novell partnership since it was announced in early November. If Novell is excommunicated from the GPL camp, Microsoft might have to swoop in and shore up SuSE Linux in additional ways. Maybe there will be a Microsoft Linux, after all ...

Got any of your own -- either half-baked or fully cooked -- to share? Write me at [email protected].

About the Author

Mary Jo Foley is editor of the ZDNet "All About Microsoft" blog and has been covering Microsoft for about two decades. She's the author of "Microsoft 2.0" (John Wiley & Sons, 2008), which examines what's next for Microsoft in the post-Gates era.


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