Microsoft will launch a non-windows platform, the Web population will reach 100 million, and online commerce will grow to $20 billion. These are just a sampling of some of the 1998 predictions from International Data Corp., an information-technology market research and consulting company based in Framingham, Mass. Other note-worthy prognostications include:
- Intel Corp. will come out with a non-Pentium line of chips aimed at Internet appliances.
- Digital subscriber lines (DSLs) will join cable to launch an era of megabit consumer Internet access.
- One in four households will be online.
- In order to drive household penetration, PC prices will drop into the $500 to $700 range within the next 18 months.
- Low-cost information appliances will explode onto the market including Web-enabled TV, screen phones, and personal digital assistants, and Microsoft Windows will struggle to maintain its leadership as the de facto operating platform as more appliance-centric operating systems compete in this space.
- Web sound, automatic language translation, and digital certificates will become a big part of Web communications.