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I don't know about you, but I have enough to worry about -- so much, in fact, I sometimes feel it's easier to enumerate the things I don't need to fret over. I find the exercise soothing. No thrills here, just chill:
1. IBM's cloud play: Apparently, IBM has a cloud play. Its 2012 YTD Q3 earnings exceeded 2011, which saw triple the previous year's returns. Yet what those earnings are I cannot deduce because they are lumped into "growth areas" of $20 billion. IBM actually talks about its participation in the use of traditional Chinese medicine to cure kidney disease but not about exactly how much the company made from its cloud efforts.
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In fact, not much appears to have changed from what Eric Knorr wrote about it in 2010. Also, when I tried to register for IBM's PaaS beta, every page of the registration process still offers to fax the agreement to me. IBM has been selling public cloud IaaS services as well, although customer engagements begin with an IBM rep getting back to you. The cloud business isn’t just about technology; it's a way of doing business -- one that seems incompatible with IBM's "consulting first" approach.
The best hint at IBM's plans are may be its annual report: "We expect to spend $20 billion in acquisitions over the 2015 road map period to support growth initiatives." Any acquisition and integration will take longer than a year. I wonder how my buddy Sacha looks in blue?
2. Java EE 7: Although Java EE 7 will be released next year, it will come with a reduced feature set and mainly drop the cloud parts. Many vendors won't attain certification until the end of the year, and with each release, there are fewer certified implementations. Releases were historically every second calendar year, but now they are every third, and this will be the first time it was in the fourth. EE 5 saw EJB 3 and annotations; EE 6 saw CDI.
So what really is coming in EE7? Date-managed releases are a step forward, but you need a compelling feature to rally around.
3. Apple's market share: Look, Apple could release an iTurd and the faithful would still line up for it. Personally, I need a bigger iPhone screen because I'm getting old and can't see as well as I used to. I also need to tether at 20Mbps and not 3Mbps because I want my data right now and have no desire to wait. (As you may have guessed, unlike certain people, I am not a fan.)
Yet even Apple laptops continue to gain market share. Although I use Linux and don't care for OS X because it tries to "help" me in ways I do not require or want, between Windows and OS X I'll take OS X every time. That goes double for Windows 8 -- a sentiment I think many users will share. A word to the wise: Make sure you get enough RAM for however long you plan to keep your laptop; in new MacBook Pro models, Apple solders it into the motherboard.
4. Yahoo or HP doing much of anything: If you change CEOs like some people change shirts and make huge staffing cuts, your company probably isn't going to pull off some great initiative next year (unless one of my disaster scenarios strikes). Hey Yahoo, I have an imaginary MBA from Harvard and would love to take the job for a year even if you fire me. I don't even need much of a salary, but can we negotiate the severance now?
5. Typesafe fading away: I think 2013 is probably the breakout year for Typesafe, a platform for creating highly scalable Java and Scala applications. The Play framework for developing Web applications seems to be gaining a lot of mindshare. While Scala is still used by a tiny slice of developers, it has some die-hard fans and its share is growing. With another round of funding, Typesafe is building out its capabilities, and one of the best evangelists I know just joined the company to preach the faith.
6. A shortage of PaaS vendors: I had no idea how many there were. Since I wrote "Which freaking PaaS should I use?," I've been swarmed with marketing people wanting to "brief" me (which apparently means having someone who can't answer my technical questions read a Web page aloud over the phone). Many of these PaaS vendors aren't going to make it; the ones that have the resources to build their own cloud probably will, while most of the ones built on top of Amazon Web Services probably won't. Valuation and acquisition of the smaller players will be based on service and build compelling features, absolutely flawless tools, and an easy on-ramp for legacy applications.
Next year, I think we'll start to see some actual releases from the larger vendors. And at least a couple of the smaller guys will fold.
7. Microsoft's Surface tablet: Microsoft's Surface tablet ships on October 26. It takes time to build, rebuild, or attract a developer community. It also takes a lower price to enter an established market. I'm not counting Microsoft out yet, but if you ignore the Surface next year, you can still safely stay in the game with tablet development. Maybe Microsoft will figure it out by 2014, but the Surface isn't on my Hanukkah list for this year.
8. Larry Ellison: Maybe Larry shouldn't invest in any more boats or just stick to yachts, but he'll be OK otherwise, don't you worry. Yes, in the long term, NoSQL and big data will mean you won't need an RDBMS for the vast majority of database applications. Meanwhile, so much has been built on top of Oracle, and the company manages to find so many creative ways to charge maintenance fees, the cost of switching from Oracle is simply too high. With an entrenched product and a big, aggressive sales force, Larry will get by.
9. Another 2009: Although the outlook from the major 24-hour news networks is grim, the outlook from the major 24-hour news networks is always grim. They sell fear for a living. On the whole, the tech industry is doing well. Even if we have to keep our data with our women, in binders, I think there will be even more of it next year. Someone has to track the binders, right?