Microsoft Wins Again
Of course, Microsoft has no competitors anymore. It dominates the computer industry. It is the most important firm to consider in formulating an IT strategy. I find that sad, because I believe the complete lack of innovation in the personal computer industry today can be traced to Microsoft's dominance in the marketplace.
Wireless and mobility, on the other hand, remain hotbeds of innovation largely because technologies continue to improve, and because Microsoft has not been pervasive in this space. That's about to change. Windows Mobile is poised to become the only mobile OS that matters. Palm OS? Stick a fork in it. Even Palm Inc. sells a Windows Mobile product now. Symbian Ltd. ? Still a player, but what do they do that Microsoft can't? BlackBerry ? Watch your back. Java? My personal favorite, but the OS mentality that pervades most IT departments, coupled with clever marketing from Redmond, will relegate Java to a peripheral role. I do have some hopes for Linux, based on my experience so far with the Nokia 770.
My personal favorite approach, of course, is thin clients built on browsers and Web services. But even I'll admit that there are times one needs code running on a highly mobile device. And the OS for that device will come from... Oh, my, it pains me even to write that word. Really.
And yet, even as I curse the wretched mess that is Windows on a daily basis, I hold out hope that MS will learn to build usable, maintainable, functional products that enrich their customers and not just their coffers. For those of you who remember the early days of Saturday Night Live, this is the part where Steve Martin jumps out and yells "Nah!"
— Craig Mathias is Principal Analyst at the Farpoint Group , an advisory firm specializing in wireless communications and mobile computing. Special to Unstrung