In 2007, we started to work with Windows Vista, bought lots of handheld devices, and started to move things online – our mail, our photos, our movies.
What will 2008 bring? It will start with lots more of the same. Many of you will get your first Windows Vista computer and discover that it’s quite a nice operating system. There’s a flood of new handheld devices on the way inspired by the iPhone, although my guess is that Apple will stay a step ahead by releasing the iPhone version 2 with better data speeds and support for corporate e-mail systems – making it look very tempting for almost anyone who can stomach an account with AT&T. And the online sites for photos and videos will continually improve their ease of use and security; this should be on your mind every time you hear a story about someone who didn’t have a backup of the family photos when the computer crashed.
2008 will bring an update to Microsoft Small Business Server – too early to know what the impact of that will be. I sense virtualization in my future – software that allows multiple computers to run on the same piece of hardware, each one convinced that it has exclusive control of the machine. That allows changes to be tested without risk and might even allow a business to run multiple servers in a more secure, less expensive way. We’ll talk about that just as soon as I understand it even a little tiny bit.
With luck we’ll talk less in 2008 about the recording industry and confusing DRM restrictions on music and video files. Slowly but surely the entertainment industry is being forced to consider new business models based on trusting consumers instead of suing them. Warner Music just began offering part of its music catalog in MP3 format through Amazon.com, joining EMI and Universal, and leaving Sony as the lonely holdout. My second favorite news item at the end of 2007 is the latest over-the-top assertion by the recording industry, this time in a brief filed by the RIAA last month in one of its acts of litigation terrorism against consumers. The RIAA now asserts that it is illegal for you to rip a CD to your computer, even if you purchased the CD and the computer files are only for your personal use. This is what it looks like when an entire industry dies a horrible self-inflicted death.
But my favorite end-of-year news story should warm all of our hearts. Wal-Mart announced that it has closed its online service for downloading movies. The service was opened in February with the endorsement of all major movie studios and TV networks, offering movies with intense DRM restrictions.
But that’s not the good part.
The good part is that when Wal-Mart posted the announcement that the site was closed, no one noticed. In this world where everything is observed and commented on, it took a week for the closure to be mentioned in any blog or news article. It was such a cruddy, overpriced, difficult, restrictive service that literally no one ever looked at it. I love that!
Let’s take it to be a good sign for 2008. My wish for you all is that in 2008, cruddy services and software will be ignored and valuable services and software will rise to the top, making you richer and more productive and happier. We can hope, right?
All my best wishes for a happy new year!