Last year I made some long range predictions saying that 2010 will be the turning point for a few trends. I was not saying that on December 31st, 2010 (today!) you will sit back and say I am right on all of these, but I was saying that by December 31st, 2011 or 2012 you will. The trends I spoke about last year are: .NET has hit the end of the road, BI is the next big thing, the cloud will emerge, Google and Apple will go to war, and content providers will strike back.
I still think these trends hold true. It looks like #4 (Google v Apple) and #5 (Content Providers strike back) already started to happen in 2010.
It is now time for some predictions in the Microsoft space and the industry in general. Today I will start with Microsoft, here are three bold predictions in the Microsoft space:
Windows Phone 7 will have more apps than both iPhone and Android in 2 years
Windows Phone 7 (WP7) is playing catch-up and will start to gain some market share in 2011. While it will still be a distant 3rd place behind Android and the iPhone in the “Smartphone” category, it will shine in one area: apps. There are tons of apps out there for both iPhone and Android and only very few for WP7 as of this writing. That will change, and one story this year will be the explosion of quality apps for WP7.
We are already seeing great growth in the Windows 7 Marketplace. Currently there are over 5,000 apps in less than two months since launch. It took Android over 5 months to get to the 5,000 number. WP7 has well over double the speed of the growth Android had at launch. While this does not mean much, if the trend continues as I think it will, Microsoft’s phone will have the most apps within a couple of years.
Developers build applications on a platform for two reasons: the platform has reach and it is easy to develop for. WP7 will have broad reach as it gains market share this year and developer ecosystems are in Microsoft’s DNA, not Apple’s and Google’s. While developers will continue to develop for the iPhone and Android, within two years, WP7 (or 8?) will have the most applications. Both the XBox (XNA) and Silverlight platforms to develop on are quite easy and already have a tremendous amount of developers.
Windows 8 will ship a beta and the surprise story will be Silverlight, not HTML5
While Windows 7 is the most successful operation system Microsoft has shipped to date, we will see a Windows 8 beta this year, most likely at the PDC in the fall. Speculation is that Windows 8 will be based on HTML5 and not have any support for Silverlight included, a hint as to where Microsoft has put its priorities. My bold prediction is that while HTML5 will be “everywhere” in Windows 8, Silverlight will ship as part of the core OS, putting it on equal footing with HTML5 in Windows 8.
Office 365 will dominate over GoogleApps
Later this year Office 365 will launch and compete head on with GoogleApps. Microsoft has the model right, online applications that integrate with the locally installed ones, Exchange integrations, and managed support. At $6 per user, your business can have a fully functional Exchange, Sharepoint, and Office solution without any IT costs. GoogleApps are good, however, they can’t compete with what Office 365 is offering.