COMDEX wrap-up

I'm home, finally, and exhausted of course. Comdex is a rush unparalleled in the computing industry, with competing visions of the future pounding at you from all directions. It's an overload of sights and sounds, no doubt about it. But the most striking thing about Comdex this year, I guess, was that there were no huge new product releases. Most companies, including Microsoft, seemed to be "between releases," as I mentioned before, though there were an interesting number of future PC designs here and there. Intel is set to release the Pentium 4, but we've known about that for months. And wireless products, of course, were everywhere, and everyone was talking about 802.11 and Personal Area Networks (PAN). But I have to agree with Bill Gates in this case: The PC is going to change, perhaps dramatically, but it isn't going away. And the amazing rush of PC companion products--PDAs, set-top boxes, etc.--will do nothing to diminish its importance.

For whatever it's worth, I'm pretty excited about the next generation of Microsoft's platform products. Windows 2002/Windows.NET/Whistler/whatever is looking good, as is Office 2002/10, which answers one major complaint about the suite by bringing hidden functionality to the surface in a way that is logical and unobtrusive. And Visual Studio.NET, which shipped in Beta 1 form while I was in Vegas, is the key to getting developers onboard the .NET train. Comparing Microsoft's presence at the show with the Linux bargain basement over at the Sands is, of course, unfair. Look to Linux to finally get out of the "almost as good as Windows" category and begin offering some real innovations in 2001. The time for catch-up is almost over.

By the end of the week, I'll post a Web version of my Comdex musings, along with some exclusive photographs from the show. Stay tuned to the SuperSite for the visual version..

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