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No. of Recommendations: 17
What will the future look like? Well, let me start by neglecting all the major problems we will be having with over-population and resource depletion. Let's just look at industries.

I'm not a psychic. This is just a rambling opinion based on data I have now, and things I've seen. Those not into rambling may just want to click "next". ;-) In 20 years this is what I would expect.

There are two different, but interrelated futures. One is in the "developed" world, and one is in the "developing" world. Most of us who have the ability to read this board are likely in the developed world at this time.

That leads nicely into one aspect of the future: the developing world will become more "on-line", especially those nations which attract high-tech businesses. Their presence helps drive improvement of various types of infrastructure, as well as pumping money into the local economy to help fund them. This is already evident in places like Thailand, and the Philippines is coming up (slowly). The latter has access mostly through cyber cafes today. In the future I would expect much of it to be wireless (see next paragraph).

Wireless will have huge penetration in the 3rd world. I've written about that before. Laying landlines is expensive, and in heavy jungle it is very difficult. Microwave towers are much easier, and cheaper. Southeast Asia is already rife with cell phones, and at this time most are Nokia. They will become less a status symbol as practically everyone will have one. But they will continue to be fashion accessories just as watches are. Since I am long NOK I hope they continue to dominate. Given how their competitors are throwing in the towels, this seems likely. I expect internet access will necessarily be via wireless since I doubt very much they will have laid the landline infrastructure that would be needed.

The US is a different story. Wireless will have advanced some, but landlines will still dominate. They are already in place, have better sound quality, and no "down side". Cells will probably continue in their current role here (emergency use, convenience when not near a landline especially for people that do service calls, etc.), and growth will be simply because more people use them in that role.

Fiber optic will become ever more pervasive. For once the US will likely lead in implementation (unlike with cell phones) since we want more bandwidth for more convenience (movies, internet, etc.). The third world will be slower because it is as difficult/expensive to lay a fiber line as a copper one (see cell phone comments above), and they aren't laying a lot of copper now (it takes years to get a phone in a new house in many places). JDSU should still be the gorilla of this industry.

Intel will still be around. They will still be the processor and flash gorilla. PB can probably comment better on their other ventures, but I expect they will be much more diversified. Revenue will be coming from many channels. Apple, AMD (as long as they have current management) and Transmeta probably will all be memories at that point. Gone will be the days of 60% margins for Intel, I suspect. They will be almost like GE. In all probability some disruptive technology will be in place to enhance processor performance at this time since the physical limit of quantum tunneling through transistors will have been hit with conventional CMOS technology. Hopefully INTC will have come up with it, but it is possible an "up-start" could do it and catapult into the gorilla role in processors. Such is the nature of disruptive technology.

Cars will be very different, yet very much the same. Standard gasoline engines will be fading away, much as leaded gasoline did a decade or two ago. This will occur because supply and demand will force gas prices higher as supplies dwindle. In 20 years time I don't believe the gas engine will be gone, but it won't have the market to itself anymore. Currently fuel cells seem to be the most likely to replace them. As I wrote elsewhere, it is probable the oil companies will begin snatching up the companies with fuel cell technology/patents so that when the oil runs out they will still have products to sell. The cars will be safer than ever, with an ever-increasing number of mini-computers on board (called microcontrollers, distinctly different from microprocessors) to support all the bells and whistles that will be available. Most of these types of products will probably be made by my company. :-)

Homes in the developed world will be wired. Optically. A single fiber into the home provides all voice/data needs. I suspect this will especially be true in the US, but likely a lot in Europe also since I don't believe that wireless will be able to deliver the bandwidth over the long term (i.e. wireless might be able to now, but as demand for bandwidth grows to support new services it will outstrip the ability of wireless to provide it). These homes will have Intel-based computers (barring the aforementioned upstart) connected to the fibers, and the signals along the fibers will be propagated by JDSU hardware. Most people will have NOK cell phones on their hips or in their bags, that will have sufficient functionality to check the status of the home alarm, do a debit at a coke machine, and such as that.

Home in the developing world will rely on wireless. Those that have computers (Intel based, of course!) will connect to the net via dial-up connections with their Nokia cellphones. Plans likely will be in the works to start implementing fiber connections (if their economies can support it), using JDSU hardware!

Some say tech is dead. That is horrifically short-sighted. It is only taking a breather after an exaggerated run-up, and an exaggerated fall. I believe the companies I listed above will be even more powerful than they are now, and making all the rules.

1poorguy (long NOK, and INTC, currently out of JDSU but watching it, no interest in Apple or AMD or Transmeta)
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The cars will be safer than ever, with an ever-increasing number of mini-computers on board (called microcontrollers, distinctly different from microprocessors) to support all the bells and whistles that will be available. Most of these types of products will probably be made by my company. :-)
Under license from ARM...

DD
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No. of Recommendations: 5
Excellent post, Poorguy. I have some thoguhts to add to your last paragraph:

Some say tech is dead. That is horrifically short-sighted. It is only taking a breather after an exaggerated run-up, and an exaggerated fall. I believe the companies I listed above will be even more powerful than they are now, and making all the rules.

Day traders and other lemmings are saying that tech is dead. But they're only talking about the stocks. The only thing that's dead right now is the ability for day traders to make a quick profit on tech stocks. Unfortunately, this also leads to the inability of these comapnies to raise cash for expansion and R&D. But you're right that these will be temporary problems (the trouble's only be going on for a year). Even if certain companies die, the technology will still be with us. If Yahoo goes out of business, will that be the end of the internet? If JDSU dies, wil that be the end of fiber optics? No way. Either those companies will recover in due time, or someone else will step in to fill the void. So don't let Wall Street's predictions, which cover a few months at most, cloud your perception of the long-term future.

Illuminato
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Thanks 1poorguy.

Intel will still be around. They will still be the processor and flash gorilla. PB can probably comment better on their other ventures, but I expect they will be much more diversified.

Well, I am too egotistical to resist an opportunity to blow my own trumpet, even though it sounds pretty flat most of the time, and I miss a few notes:)

Intel's diversification:

Optical networking: http://www.zdnet.com/intweek/stories/news/0,4164,2676383,00.html

and my views on it:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14864592

But Intel will be a major winner in the Metro area as Gig-E disrupts the fat, dumb and happy incumbents.

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15320374

Cellphones and PDA's with PCA:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15158663

But, I think that 3G is a looooong way off as a compelling consumer product:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=15332596

so a modicum of risk here, and some will succeed, and some will fail.

Whatever...These are my opinions.

Cheers, PB





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PoorBloke, what do you think about IA-64 and Intel's push into the server space? Do you think Intel will be successful at attacking Sun and gaining market share? I don't see how Sun could stop the OEMs from gaining market share.

By 2007/08 Intel plans on moving the 64-bit architecture to the desktop market. Wouldn't it seem that Intel is changing the rules by introducing a new architecture?
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Do you think Intel will be successful at attacking Sun and gaining market share? I don't see how Sun could stop the OEMs from gaining market share.

It's a difficult question to answer Scrim....

There are so many variables that I don't honestly believe that I can give a cast iron guarantee that Intel will win in the high end/back end server space in the short term.

My own opinion is that it depends on the degree that Intel can drive the horizontal model (numerous OEMs selling Itanium based servers running different OS's vs Sun with it's one OS running on SPARC).

History tells me that as long as the horizontal model succeeeds, then Intel will win. They (we) will do what needs to be done to win, since we have the support of HP, Compaq, Dell, IBM, Bull, FSC, etc.

It won't be an easy battle, but in the medium/long term, then if Intel execute well, then Sun will be forced to change architecture for survival.

Whether they go the way of SGI, or whether they thrive by committing to Itanium (and the future versions), is anyone's guess.

What I do know is, and this might be a surprise, is that Scott McNealy is a survivor, and is willing to port to IA-64 and base his company on it if it looks like it will kill sparc.

Right now, Sun is hedging it's bets. They have ported Solaris to IA-64, and could switch from sparc, but it would be very painful and expensive.

I think Sun have 2 years to make the switch. If they don't make the switch to Itanium in 2003,then they will be stuffed.

Cheers, PB
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