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Predicting the next 10 years

Predicting the next 10 years

Here at the Gibbs Institute of Quantum Prognostication and Entropic Business (motto: marketing thermodynamics means you can't win, you can't lose and you can't break even), we've gone back to looking forward to see where we'll be when we get there. Or something like that.

After connecting our linear accelerator to our proton centrifuge and feeding the output into Windows 95, we derived the following probable future history: 1997: Banyan will finally start to market Vines and StreetTalk rather than just rely on the fact that everybody knows how good they are. It will be too late. Banyan will go broke and be sold to a Taiwanese conglomerate that thinks it is buying a US deodorant manufacturer.

It will become increasingly obvious that phone companies don't understand the Internet.

1998: Cheap, high-speed consumer access to the Internet ($5 per month for 10Mbits per second) will become widely available. The Home Shopping Network will go online in a big way. But every time you go to their site, all they will be selling will be Diamante jewellery.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

1999: Every nun in the first world will have her own Web page. Sister Basil of the Church of Eternal Indulgence will get a "Top 5 per cent of Internet Sites" rating, which will become a hotly debated issue, culminating with John Howard and Cheryl Kernot indulging in fisticuffs.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

2000: Bill Gates will become the richest life-form in the universe. Billions of begging letters to him will arrive from some obscure planet in the Crab Nebula, bringing the Post Office to its knees. This won't actually be that remarkable, as e-mail will have reduced the postal service to delivering letters once a week.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

2001: After 20 years in the business it created, IBM will decide its had enough of OS/2, Lotus and anything to do with PCs. It will refocus (go back to selling mainframes), regroup (shed 10 million in staff), and sell Lotus to Novell for $5 and a copy of NetWare 10.1.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

2002: It will leak out that token ring was just a joke cooked up by those merry pranksters down in Baton Rouge. Lou Gerstner will be hung in effigy, and he will never visit that town again.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

2003: The number of books written about the Internet will pass the one million mark, and "official" guides that identify Net resources that vanish even before the guide's publication will be as popular as ever.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

2004: I will celebrate a decade of writing for the IT industry. Norman Gunston will become prime minister.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

2005: An investigative journalist for the National Enquirer will reveal that the FBI has been recording every packet crossing the Internet for the past 15 years and has stored the data on one trillion half-inch mag tapes in a warehouse in Poughkeepsie. Due to bad planning, the warehouse will have no humidity control and the label on every tape will fall off. The FBI will still consider the tapes vital to public security.

The phone companies still won't really understand the Internet.

2006: The phone companies will finally understand the Internet. Too late. This is the year networking will be completely transformed by & per cent$*(#!* . . . Sorry, our machine just broke down.


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