We got the big trend right: Enterprises would increasingly deliver software as an online service. The moniker back then was "application service provider" rather than cloud or SaaS provider. But we hear about the same benefits almost 15 years later: Customers can implement software-as-a-service more quickly than on-premises versions and focus more on producing business results and less on managing software. What's surprising in retrospect is two of the main vendors that were touting this movement: Oracle and Microsoft. "All the major software companies are going to have to become ASPs," said Oracle CEO Larry Ellison. Microsoft's Steve Ballmer envisioned desktop and collaboration software becoming a service "over time." Salesforce.com formed that year, but it would be another five years before it bagged a 1,000-subscriber customer. Spotting long-term trends is one thing; knowing when they'll take off is another.