Tech Predictions for 2009

What would our annual Forecast package be without my now-legendary annual cop-out? Yes, it's time once again for my shameless shirking of responsibility as I weasel out of my obligation to predict what's going to happen in the new year. As I readily acknowledge every year at this time, I don't have the slightest idea what the next 12 months hold for us. Predicting the future is really hard.

But no way am I going to let a blank look and clueless shrug be the extent of my contribution to the package. I can do the prediction thing with the best of 'em, as long as it has nothing to with predicting what will happen. Instead, here is my exponentially safer and less difficult fourth annual list of things that won't happen in the new year.

And this year, I'm even adding a twist: Not only am I explaining why these things won't happen, I'm filling you in on why they should.

CA will not acquire Sun Microsystems.

Why it won't happen: Well, for one thing, it would be just plain stupid. What on earth would an enterprise systems management software vendor do with a fading boutique hardware supplier that has no software of any real value?

Why it should: Somebody needs to put Sun's shareholders out of their misery. And although CA has transformed itself from the monster it was under the reign of Charles Wang , there must be somebody in the bowels of CA's Long Island headquarters who still remembers how to acquire a company and make all traces of it go away.

Apple will not get its enterprise computing act together.

Why it won't happen: There's too much money to be made in gadgets you can hold up to a speaker to find out the name of the song being played. Why deal with pesky CIOs?

Why it should: Dale Frantz, CIO at Auto Warehousing Co., has saved about $1 million in licensing fees by shifting from Windows PCs and servers to Macs, but with next to no help from Apple. If Steve Jobs would show some mercy and grease the skids a little, more IT shops could cut licensing fees rather than jobs.

Novell will not hold its heretofore annual BrainShare user and partner conference.

Why it won't happen: For starters, the Novell brass said a couple of weeks ago that there'll be no BrainShare because of the lousy economy and restricted travel budgets. So, this is more of a "postdiction" than a prediction. OK, I cut a corner -- it's not like I'm some Gartner guy and you're paying an obscene amount of money for this.

Why it should: It's hard enough as it is to convince people that Novell is still around. Killing off its only means of getting a little attention won't exactly raise the outfit's profile.

No irate reporter will throw his shoes at Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd at the HP Technology Forum.

Why it won't happen: Numbskull Iraqi reporters can get a lot closer to the president of the United States than tech journalists can get to Hurd. A reporter would need to have an arm like Tom Brady's to even have a shot. Plus, times are tough in the media business, and shoes are expensive.

Why it should: I can't be the only one who's wondering whether Hurd can duck a shoe as easily as he can duck a question.

Power consumption in U.S. data centers will not decline by any appreciable degree.

Why it won't happen: Too few data center managers have any clue what their electricity bill is, and even fewer have figured out that being "green" is as much about smart expense management that saves jobs as it is about some obscure "carbon footprint."

Why it should: If you have to ask, you must still have a job.

Don Tennant is Computerworld's senior editor-at-large. You can contact him at don_tennant@computerworld.com, and visit his blog at http://blogs.computerworld.com/tennant .

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