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Technology / AI and automation


Marty Winston of public relations outfit Winston & Winston in Fort Worth, Texas, opened 1988 with a string of predictions for the year – and now that 1988 is drawing to a close, how did he do? First up, Ethernet cards will drop below $150 list, triggering a price war: so-so – prices have fallen but no sign of a widespread price war. His second forecast, 9,600bps V.32 modems will establish standards as prices drop below $1,200 and that on-line and electronic mail folks will adapt to them is beginning to happen. MCI-Mail will add FAX links: spot on – it did. 286 and 386 systems will ship with 32MHz clock speed, but benchmarks will show a bottleneck on the bus – not bad: there are one or two Taiwanese companies driving the chips at faster than their rated speed, but the official chips at those speeds aren’t out yet; bottlenecks on the bus – yes. AI and expert system front ends for applications will show up in product announcements, but few will ship – that’s pretty safe. 8088 based diskless Ethernet stations will become hot category as price wars drop list under $500 – hasn’t really happened. PS/2 Micro Channel volume will climb as IBM improves production yields and drops list prices – yes, but nothing dramatic. Not clear what he was thinking of with IBM will introduce a totally new operating system and environment with astonishing speed and full backward compatibility – unless it was OS/400 on the AS/400. Microsoft will make waves with a butt-kicking new database application – not really unless you count SQL Server, with Ashton-Tate Corp and Sybase Inc, and that hasn’t hit the streets yet. Two-pass compilers with a Postscript substitute for hardware will appear on most LaserJet-clone laser printers didn’t notice it, nor LIM 4.0 will prompt development of a unique utility that forever unjams RAM-Cram. Word processing developer will announce a unique multitasking MS-DOS package that does much more than current packages – again, it escaped our notice. PC version of Mac stackware will get a hot press reception but only lukewarm sales – right on the latter, doubtful on the former. A super-hot new numbers package will be a top seller because it makes financial klutzes look like CFOs through its cheat-sheet reports – there’s still an opportunity there because the only real waves were made by Microsoft’s Excel on MS-DOS machines as Lotus hit big trouble with 1-2-3 3.0. OS/2 will hit temporary sold-out status as production shortfall catches up to surprise first-saturation order levels – that would have been a surprise. New distributed batch processing utility will become year’s hottest local area network product we’re still waiting. And Feds will okay takeover of Western Union by MCI – they might if they were asked, but they weren’t.

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CBR Staff Writer

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