IDC Publishes Predictions for 2002

The primary market-sizing research firm, IDC, came out with its predictions for 2002 -- many of which dealt with issues surrounding Microsoft server software.

The predictions included a strong run of Windows XP license sales, a breakout year for Linux and massive Web services hype. IDC went public with the forecasts Thursday during a customer conference hosted by IDC chief research officer John Gantz.

"Seventy-five million WinXP licenses will ship in 2002, but XP won't have the clout that Windows 95 did in driving hardware sales or generating first-time users," IDC predicts. Microsoft has said it has sold 7 million licenses of Windows XP, with about 90 percent of those licenses going to PC makers. Although the numbers are large, they represent the first time Microsoft has offered one operating system kernel for consumer, business and workstation use.

Another of Microsoft's main pushes, Web services, specifically .NET, got attention from IDC. The market research firm forecasts that the Web services concept will reach a "hype peak" in 2002 well before a critical mass of products or services are available.

As for Linux, which Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently identified as one of Microsoft's biggest competitive threats, IDC predicts a "breakout year." IDC says "it seems clear that Linux has become a viable alternative for enterprise use."

Other IDC predictions: digital identity services, including Microsoft Passport, will become real but single-sign-on to the Web will remain a pipe dream; businesses will struggle to support workers' demands for wireless and mobile Internet access; business continuity will be elevated among IT priorities because of the terrorist attacks; and server blades will disrupt the entry and appliance server markets.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.