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Forrester Sticks Its Neck Out, Predicting Trend Beyond the Web

Dave Aiello wrote, "Yesterday, The Industry Standard reported that the IT research firm Forrester Research came out with a report that predicts the death of the Web as we know it. The next trend they expect to see develop (and hope to capitalize on) is something they refer to as the X Internet. This appears to call for the Internet to be a delivery vehicle for small executable programs that are thrown away after use."

"Forgive me, but didn't we have an attempt at this about three years ago? This strikes me as the prediction of a reconstituted audience for things like Java applets. Ugh."

"The rationale for this is weak. The article says that this is part of the classic IT forecast model of picking a bright spot on the horizon and laying out a path for the industry to get there. But, they will have a very hard time getting North American consumers there without some significant changes in the apparent evolutionary path of Internet access devices."

"Internet-enabled mobile devices in the telephone form factor are not a hit in this country or Canada. Practically no one has an Internet appliance. What device do they expect to base the first generation of executable content on, the set-top or the game console?"

Dave Aiello continues:

What the IT visionaries fail to grasp is the overwhelming advantages that have accrued to all Internet users as a result of the adoption of Server-Side Programming Techniques. Java Server Pages, Active Server Pages, mod_perl pages, and CGIs have all created more usable interactivity in the last two or three years than they have received credit for.

Until there is much broader deployment of broadband connectivity (which substantially outperforms DSL in availibility, cost, and reliability), I do not think we will see people abandon PCs and browsers in large numbers. This also says nothing of the AOL contingent, who are actually enticed by the slogan, "So easy to use, no wonder it's Number One!"

With respect to business customers, everyone who is not a WAP developer hates WAP with a passion. Blackberries are well designed for what they do, but as long as most of them ride on the Cingular Interactive Network, the data rate is too slow for anything much more robust than text email.

The best hope for this vision, as some Seattle and San Jose residents know, is Ricochet. But, that company is nearly bankrupt, and unlikely to achieve anything approaching a nationwide deployment in the foreseeable future.

For the sake of Forrester, I hope that they have not pointed to the next Interactive Television. For CTDATA's money, we're staying focused on the Web for the time being. I'll be happy to eat my words if it results in a more positive business climate in the near future.

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