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Pat's 1998 Predictions

December 6, 1997
by Pat McClellan

Welcome to 1998... glad you could make it. Time for me to pull some predictions out of my hat (or e-mail folder) so we can go on record for certain embarrassment this time next year.

First, let me brag that my predictions for 1997 were incredibly accurate. I didn't actually write them down last year, but that's beside the point. My predictions guided my purchase decisions through the year and so far, I've come out OK.

Last year at this time, I was trying to figure out what to buy as a secondary work station. I bought an Apple PPC 7200 at a decent price. I almost bought a Power Computing model, but it didn't come with Ethernet, so I opted for Apple. Now that Power Computing's Macs are history, I'm glad I did. As a side note, I decided that 120MHz for both my 8500 and the 7200 would be fast enough for another year. And it has been.

I predicted that Director 6 would be worth the money required to update. I made the investment in July. Sure, I could just about everything I needed to do with D5, but I knew I'd end up updating sooner or later. I figure you might as well lead the pack, so I did it sooner. Am I glad I did? You betcha! A lot of people are raving about 120 sprite channels, but to me, the biggest advance is Behaviors. By working with Behaviors, I really started to understand Object Oriented Programming.... how and why. It's just the tip of the iceberg, but from a conceptual point of view, it was a huge leap for me.

So, on to the predictions for 1998. I polled some of my associates for their predictions on a few issues you might be interested in:

Fastest Pentium/Mac on the market at the end of 1998: the concensus is that both will be somewhere between 333 and 500 MHz. I'll go out on a limb and suggest that by the end of 98, MHz won't be a very useful measurement. But, if you must use it, I think we'll be closer to 750.

JAVA export for Director: some think big flop, others, mild success. My view... oh, shit. Just what we need -- another dozen browser/platform combinations to test our work on! I was just talking with a hard-core programmer (you know, one of those C++ types). He commented that lots of people know JAVA, but nobody's doing anything with it. I predict that Wall Street will catch on that Java is a big ZERO. Unfortunately, I suspect that Active X will take over JAVA's crown as the over-hyped technology.

Netscape/Explorer marketshare: nobody is predicting any major shifts -- perhaps Explorer will gain some ground. I predict that Explorer will be a Mac only application by the end of the year. Why? Because Windows will not require a browser to use the internet. Complete integration with the OS. This is the right direction in my view.

Finally, I surveyed regarding Steve Jobs' position at Apple. The responses ranged from CEO to "who cares". I think Steve is bored already. As long as he's around in ANY capacity, he'll be the acting CEO -- even if someone else gets named to that position. But who would want that position as long as Steve weilds the real power there? It would have to be somebody with the fortitude and personal charisma to make Jobs seem completely superfluous. That leads me to my most dangerous of predictions... remember, you heard it here first.

Apple will name Oprah Winfrey as the new CEO of Apple Computer. Wall Street brokers -- who don't have time to watch Oprah's show -- will miss the point and the stock will drop to around $6/share. Oprah will devote 1 day/month on her show to computer issues -- something like "Oprah's Computer Club". When this happens, millions of loyal Oprah fans will scoop up the stock at a bargain, rush out & buy a Mac, and the stock will soar. So, this time next year, Apple will have surpassed Windows in popularity, and the majority of the resulting wealth will be held by people who think that Silicon Valley is artificially augmented cleavage.

So there it is. Let me know your predictions & we'll compare notes next January!

Patrick McClellan is Director Online's co-founder. Pat is Vice President, Managing Director for Jack Morton Worldwide, a global experiential marketing company. He is responsible for the San Francisco office, which helps major technology clients to develop marketing communications programs to reach enterprise and consumer audiences.

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