Windows Shutting on Microsoft’s Reign: Panel of Leading IT Visionaries Speculate on Future of IT in Computerworld Special Report

FRAMINGHAM, MA – March 7, 2005 – Microsoft's hegemony may soon be over according to a Computerworld special report on the "Future of IT" in the March 7th issue. Computerworld assembled a distinguished panel of 12 visionaries including university professors, researchers, top CIOs, and industry consultants to share their thoughts on the economics and delivery of IT. Surprisingly, most agreed that Microsoft's glory days are, if not behind them, at least numbered.

"Our panelists are a fairly diverse group, so it's striking that most of them agree on the inevitability of Microsoft's decline," said Computerworld editor in chief Don Tennant. "Bill Gates has always said that Microsoft's strength lies in the 'smart people' who work there. Here are some pretty smart people saying that Microsoft simply isn't positioned to retain the dominance it has come to enjoy and its shareholders have come to expect."

"Microsoft has already defied the odds once by staying a dominant player as the computer industry made a major technological transition in the late 1990s, from the PC era to the Internet era. It's not impossible for Microsoft to do this again, with whatever the next major technology turns out to be, but I'd have to say the odds are against it." – MIT Sloan School of Management professor Thomas Malone

"Microsoft is running out of rich, dumb customers. If you are technologically smart, you can replicate 80% of the functionality of Microsoft Office essentially for free. It will almost become a badge of ignorance to have Microsoft installed on your desktop." – IT futurist Thornton May

Microsoft wasn't the only thing on these leaders' minds. Computerworld also asked the panelists to address what worried them most and what advice they would give IT managers for the upcoming decade on issues ranging from software quality to information security, cyber-terrorism and offshoring. For example:

— Procuring IT services from abroad will become common, like a futures market, where labor is readily bought and sold, or "arbitraged," on the basis of small differences in price and quality, panelists said.

— Open-source software was hailed as a means for innovation, but not for delivering the solid infrastructure for an information-based civilization. "Open-source is often little more than a backlash against Microsoft. Many things in the world that are 'free' come at substantial cost – 'free' like a puppy." – Microsoft researcher Gordon Bell.

The complete special report can found in the March 7 issue of Computerworld or online at

For further information or to speak with Don Tennant from Computerworld, please contact Steve Sylven, Marenghi PR at (781) 915-5015 or Erin Keefe, Marenghi PR at (617) 512-9498.

About Computerworld

Computerworld, the "Voice of IT Management," is the most trusted source for the critical information needs of senior IT management. Computerworld's integrated offerings form the U.S.-based hub of the world's largest (58-edition) global IT media network through its weekly publication, Web site, focused conference series and custom research. In the past five years alone, Computerworld has won more than 100 print and online awards for editorial and design excellence, surpassing its direct competition by an order of magnitude. Recognition includes the 2004 Magazine of the Year Award from the American Society of Business Publication Editors and a Jesse H. Neal Award for "Best News Coverage." In print since 1967, Computerworld is the source for information technology management, with a guaranteed rate base of 180,050, a total print audience of 1,138,000 (IntelliQuest CIMS 2004 Business Influencer Study) and an online audience of over 1 million unique monthly visitors (DoubleClick).

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