• Subject: Predictions for the coming year
  • From: Chris Rehm <Mr.AS400@xxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 25 Dec 1997 22:43:27 PDT

Well, I thought I'd climb out on a limb as well:

Well, Lou Gerstner will not change jobs. After all, the ink is barely wet on
the press release (November 21 I think) where he agreed to stay at IBM's
helm and was given an additional 2 million shares in stock options. 

AS/400 sales will climb, but with only a small gain in market share. AS/400
shops will increase demand for resources to keep up with mounting Year 2000
IBM will continue to push themselves as a solutions provider, as more and
more shops reach deadlines for their Y2K projects, IBM will pick up more and
more business in this area. Fallout will mean that there will be some new
converts to AS/400 (although that will certainly not be the only IBM
platform Big Blue will push). 

Java will stay on track. By the end of the year the AS/400 JVM will have
seen enough action for people to start implementing business functions in
it. IBM will announce a growing number of joint ventures with Java solutions
vendors and there will be a change in the marketing channels to allow for
Java solution vendors, who may have no familiarity with the AS/400 or S/390,
to act as Business Partners (or Affiliates) and work with an existing
Partner for the hardware expertise. 

eCommerce will drive more change. Businesses will see the advantages of
making sales with computers instead of salespeople. Although this will drive
many projects in many languages on many platforms, Java will be the biggest
long term winner in this arena, and that will give the AS/400 the best long
term shot as a server for eCommerce projects (I think the AS/400 will have
the best JVM implementation running). 

IBM will continue to develop/improve/implement OS/2. I can't see why IBM
would dump current customers, one of whom is a $73 billion dollar company
(themself) and send them off to the competition. Also, that would leave IBM
shopping for a new OS for their NetworkStations. Even though the product
won't be appearing on more retailer shelves, it will still be worth a
billion or two to IBM. 

Microsoft will finish the year out at a lower stock value than it began. Not
because they will lose market share (they won't), but because the impact of
the JVM, high end Unix, and other new products (like the Sun/Intel venture)
will indicate a limit to the growth of Microsoft. This will not reduce MS's
earnings, but it will reduce analyst's long term view and the stock price
will approach a value based on corporate earnings. NT will continue to grow
and improve, Windows '98 might even be released.

MS vs. the DOJ will have very little impact on their business practices.
Gates will again travel to DC and have a lunch with the President, it won't
change much but the agreement reached will still not include any remedy for
previous actions. DOJ will again be "too little, too late." Perhaps the
largest impact from this will be the PR black eye for MS. I say this because
I think the lame "shared code" defense has got to cost them a lot of respect
in technical communities.

Chris Rehm

How often can you afford to be unexpectedly out of business?
Get an AS/400.
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