Microsoft may or may not make a deal for Yahoo’s search service. What neither firm realizes yet is there is a better way to do searches with value advertising. It will be easier than what Google is doing and can produce more tangible results. Right now both firms are in the mind set of “competing with Google” instead of being creative and innovative. When they start thinking independently and start tuning into what the customer needs, Google will have some competition.
If Apple would port its Mac software (iWork, iLife, Final Cut, etc) to Windows it could quickly OWN the software market. Microsoft’s competitive advantage is not Windows — it is Office. Apple could take them out if it chose to. They won’t in 2009. But if the economic crisis really hurts Apple’s 2009 business, taking business away from Microsoft in 2010 could become a real consideration.
Android, Google’s phone software will suddenly become much better and will become the preferred software platform for the cell phone industry. Competitors of the iPhone will jump on the Android bandwagon and rush many new products to market in 2009. This will force AT&T and Apple into some uncomfortable decisions. Should AT&T be open to iPhone competitive products? Should Apple open up to other telco providers?
Thanks to the economic crisis, the IT industry will take a beating. To survive many IT providers will cut costs and services to the point of driving away customers. IBM is more diversified and has deeper financial reserves. In time customers will begin to return to IBM, but with some new expectations. They’ll be willing to pay more for help desk workers who speak understandably. They will want to see more people on site, more face-to-face support. This won’t stop the rush to offshore IT jobs. It will however signal a change in the direction of the pendulum and will force IT providers to rethink their business model.
So far IBM and most IT providers have cut support costs by shipping work offshore to lower paid workers. Someone in the industry will finally realize there is another way to cut — by using quality improvement techniques to reduce the occurrence of problems. This will become a game changer in the industry. Sadly IBM is too big, too bureaucratic, too set in its ways to catch this wave. What will happen instead is firms will start in-sourcing their IT again. Watch for this in the next 5 years.
Someone will buy a controlling interest in Yahoo. There will finally be a big house cleaning of Yahoo’s board and senior management. Then either of two things will happen. The new leadership will unlock Yahoo’s value and creativity — and Yahoo will soar again. Or, Yahoo will flounder and continue to become less relevant over time.
There will be problems with conversion to DTV. It will take months, perhaps a couple years for the problems to become apparent. The original NTSC system was basically an “open” system. All stations, satellite, and cable providers used it and it worked on every television made. With DTV content providers will attempt to introduce proprietary technology in an attempt to “lock in customers.” Only open-air transmissions will use DTV. Cable and satellite will use different and proprietary digital communications. Cable and satellite will start increasing their prices to the point where consumers start spending less. To make matters worse, the Internet will become a big provider of DTV content and it will also use “different” technology. At the same time ISP’s will implement bandwidth restrictions to thwart DTV content that is not their own. It won’t take long for the S consumer to get very upset with things.
Internet Centric devices
Theft of smart phones and Internet centric devices will become a big problem. Thieves will figure out how to steal identity information, raid bank accounts and investments, and so on. This will become a big problem.
Intel will launch an 8-core processor for the PC market. It’s price point will be too high for the consumer market and the product will languish — forcing Intel to lower the prices of its product line. Worse, Microsoft will limit its support of this chip to Vista. While we can expect Vista to continue to get better and better, the extra cost and hassle of Microsoft’s software, Office upgrades, etc will limit sales. Apple will swoop in and take more market share.
As a result of all the economic problems and scandals on Wall Street, I predict the Obama administration will propose a comprehensive financial monitoring system for the banking and investment community. It will be proposed in 2009 and will take a few years to implement. With it government agencies will have the means to thoroughly monitor and regulate the industry.
The Obama administration will move forward, as promised with a national program to computerize medical records. They will however, miss one of the greatest values of such an effort. Because of privacy concern, government ignorance of technology, etc the system will not have the ability for the medical industry to do data mining. With computerized records we will finally have the ability to spot drug interaction problems and perform research on the effectiveness of treatments. With data mining with patient privacy protection, our health care system can be greatly improved. We will miss that opportunity.
The Obama administration and/or Google will create a new Google Gov service. Like its news service, Google Gov will start tracking everything going on in Congress. Committee hearings, votes, discussion of bills and amendments will be captured by Google and made public within days. We will finally be able to see in real time what our elected leaders are really doing, who is influencing them, etc. This will be a game changer.