Predictions Checked

As promised, I’m following up on my comments on Cringely’s predictions for 2005. He’s just posted his followup, along with predictions for 2006.

From 2005:
1) He said “Microsoft’s entry into the anti-virus and anti-spyware businesses will be a disaster for users.” And “They will make a big fanfare…” I said that I agree. Cringely is giving himself credit for this, saying that “it has been a bad year for Microsoft competitors in this space”. I don’t see how that should count against MS. On the other hand, I don’t think users are noticeably more secure, which is a disaster for sure. I’d say we were right about the disaster part, and completely wrong about the fanfare (I bet most people still don’t know about this stuff).

2) Burst.com vs. Microsoft. I didn’t make a guess at this, I just said that “it wouldn’t surprise me if Microsoft figured out a way to drag this out.” Microsoft ended up settling the case, and Cringely is giving himself credit even though he seemed to be only half right — expecting it to go to the appeals level first.

3) Apple to take some big risks. He was expecting Apple to sell the Mac mini at a loss in order to get some market share. They didn’t. They went on sale for $500 just as I expected. One point for me, none for him (although, I wish he was right and I wasn’t).

4) The RIAA will continue to sue customers. Both of us got this right, but it was almost too easy. I made the added guess that it “will drive file traders to use even more secure and private networks.” This is true, see Tor.

5) WiMax gets hyped. It got a little hype, but not a lot — no points. They were able to finalize the mobile WiMax standard which is cool. I don’t know what everyone is waiting for now.

6) VoIP will shatter the telephone industry. It’s a poor choice of words. VoIP has seriously disrupted the telephone industry. As Cringely points out “SBC bought AT&T”, and AT&T does offer their own VoIP service. Even with the bad wording, I think we get some credit. It’s not quite as bad as I expected, but they are hurting.

7) “Repurposing Linux-based consumer electronics devices …. I don’t think it’ll be big news.” I was right. It happened with the Linksys router, but it wasn’t big news.

8) He said that desktop Linux will finally make some serious inroads. He’s wrong here (sadly). It did continue to grow in some ways (as I said), but it really wasn’t much.

9) Innovative online video initiatives. I think the video iPod is the big news here. Studios are still ramping up for online video. Will it come in 2006 as I said? Probably a little, but who knows. I’ll take credit on my weak prediction.

10) I didn’t make a prediction on the results of the Oracle-Peoplesoft merger. I don’t even see Cringely scoring himself on it. Oh well.

11) Again, a non-prediction, this time about Cisco.

12) Sun will continue downward. Cringely was right. Sun seems to be going down. I was expecting bigger changes from Sun that we just haven’t seen. No points.

13) Intel and AMD are still fighting. Intel was able to hold it’s own (Dell is still selling Intel chips). I think we were both right.

14) UltraWide Band networking. We were right that it didn’t happen in 2005. Who knows if it’ll happen in ’06.

15) Sony’s PS3 will be delayed. Well, it didn’t come out in 2005 as some people expected. We still don’t have an official release date. I think that counts as being delayed. Microsoft was able to get the Xbox 360 out in time for Christmas. I still think we’ll see the PS3 and next Nintendo within the year.

By giving myself partial credit for things that are partially right, and extra credit for my extra predictions, I come out with 10.2 right out of 13 predictions or about 78%. Without the partial credit, it would be closer to %73. Cringely scored himself at 10/15 or 66% — his worst score ever. I think I was only able to do better by watering down some of his predictions and not even guessing on some of them. We both tended to error in favor of expecting more change than less. I’m not sure if I want to make predictions for 2006.

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