Dear Windows-Help.NET subscriber,
As I promised last week, this week we'll take a look at what 1999 has in store for us insofar as the PC/Windows world is concerned. I don't have a crystal ball, but it's not hard to foretell that 1999 is going to be a very exciting year.
For one thing there are important and far-reaching legal proceedings to watch.
The first one is the U.S. Government vs. Microsoft. The trial got underway again on the 4th of January, and on the 6th, the Government presented its last witness, economist Franklin Fisher.
In the meantime, Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson went on record noting that the AOL-Netscape merger could have an impact on the competitive landscape. He also asked both sides if they would call AOL's CEO Steve Case to testify. There has been no word on this from the U.S. Government or Microsoft, but one has to remember that both are allowed to call two rebuttal witnesses at the end of the trial.
If you want to keep up with the proceedings in more detail, visit the IT Works Web site, where Patrick Van Renterghem has assembled a very good links page.
The next trial to watch is Sun vs. Microsoft. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte ordered the two companies to work out their differences with respect to the different approaches taken by the two companies to allow Java work with native code. Both companies agreed that they would try...
Then there's a new trial to open in February: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) vs. Intel. The chipmaker was charged last June with having used its monopoly in the microprocessor market to deny three of its customers (Compaq, Digital Equipment and Intergraph) access to technical information which these companies say they need to develop products based on Intel's chips. This case also has a much broader impact on the industry as a whole, because it focuses on the issues of intellectual property rights vs. compliance with antitrust law.
Could Linux Kill Windows NT?
That's a question some people are asking. For this to occur, companies need to be more comfortable with Linux. This can only happen if quality technical support becomes available. There is some movement in that direction, with both Caldera and Red Hat offering a commercial version of Linux with nationwide (US) support. Another requirement would be for Tier One applications to be available for the Linux platform. As reported in last week's Newsletter, this is beginning to happen. The thorniest issue, however, will be the acceptance of a standard interface. This goes directly against the whole underlying concept of Linux. I doubt that the core Linux community, which is made up of Unix geeks who think that a graphical interface is for "pussies", will agree to a single standard. But just imagine if it did happen and Microsoft was forced to give away Windows NT for free... Hmmm... maybe it's time to start thinking about selling that Microsoft stock.
And PC hardware?
There are many interesting things to come.... For example, we just might finally see Flat Panel Displays take off. These have been widely touted for quite some time, but now that prices are dropping, the point may be near where they will start appearing as a standard PC option.
Of course there are many more exciting developments to come, but there isn't the space in this newsletter to cover it all. I will be keeping my eyes and ears open, though, and I'll continue to report on emerging trends. Stay tuned...