Through A Glass Darkly

Predictions can be awkward, especially with technology, but I'm going to stick my neck out and make a few predictions for 2019.

MS Office will become less popular

Let's start with a biggie. Google Suite is making inroads into many companies who are fed up with Microsoft and it's pricing structure. Not only that, there are long lived 'features' that are causing problems. One such 'feature' is in Outlook, where, under certain cirmstances you cannot search your emails. If, like some employees of the company I work for, you have thousands, this is a problem. The fact that the issue has been known for over a decade and has not been fixed is not a positive for Microsoft.

Alongside that, there are other office suites that are making inroads in the people's homes such as Openoffice and Libreoffice, while its business application, Staroffice, is gaining ground slowly.

The added advantage of these pieces of office software is that they can run on Linux, which leads me into.......

Linux will become more popular

You've probably heard of Linux, and also that it's for nerds. Not any more. You can get Linux ready machines from the internet. It's not as easy to use as windows 7, but is easier to use than Windows 8 and 10.

What you may not know is that the majority of servers on the internet run Linux as the operating system. This blog is most likely run off a server using Linux. Even within companies many, if not most, of the servers will run Linux. And they'll host Microsoft programs.

The tipping point has yet to be reached, mostly due PC gaming still being very popular, and it could be argued that it's PC games that are keeping Windows in the lead. Once games become more widely available on Linux (and that is happening), we may see Windows being eclipsed.

Internet Explorer/Edge will be frozen out

When I was writing my own blog on a regular basis I would look at the stats. One of the things I looked for was the browser that people used. Over time the number of people using Internet Explorer declined while other browsers, notably Firefox, gained traction. By the end of last year, IE was less than a third.

Given the relative ease of use of other browsers this will continue. By the end of 2019 it may well fall below 25% of internet browsing being done by IE, despite its relaunch as Edge. It may even go the way of Netscape Navigator.

Ebooks have plateaued

It was going to happen and it has. As convenient as ebooks are, they cannot replace the feel and smell of a book, nor do books need formatting on a special device that cannot read other formats.

What may happen this year is a different device will become popular that can read any style of ebook and even display PDFs properly. Tablets are already able to do this, as are smartphones. However, tablet sales have stalled and are not promoted as a Kindle replacement (the dominant format), while smartphone screens are not suitable for extended periods of time.

There's is also the issue of the tablet screen which does cause eye problems if over used, something that doesn't happen with an ereader due to the electronics behind it. It's not an insurmountable problem, and we could well see a development this year.

There we have it. Four predictions that may or may not come true.