Prediction 8: No more predictions

When I started this gig in September, 1987 Ronald Reagan was President, there was no commercial Internet, Oprah had been on the air for less than a year, and a fairly powerful PC was an IBM PC AT running at 8 MHz. In September that will have been 25 years and I think 25 years is probably enough.

That’s 1300 consecutive weeks without a break. Honest to God, I haven’t missed a week since 1987. How many people can say that? With more than two million words in print, most of them still available online, it’s like having a time card the entire world can check. No cheating allowed.

I’m not saying exactly when the end will […]

Prediction 7: A new Microsoft CEO

Steve Ballmer has always been nice to me. I can’t say we have much of a relationship, but the half dozen times I have interviewed him have always gone well and he tries to please, which I appreciate. But (there’s always a but, isn’t there?) Ballmer has failed at Microsoft and I believe 2012 will see him replaced as Redmond’s CEO.

During Ballmer’s term Microsoft’s stock has gone nowhere and it lost to Apple its position as America’s most valuable technology company.  While the company is wildly profitable and will remain so for years to come, those profits still come, for the most part, from two stalwart products from the 1990s — Windows and Office — […]

Prediction 6: Thompson's no Yahoo

Let me be clear about this just in case my clever headline makes no sense: I think the Yahoo board punted by hiring Scott Thompson, who is either a stooge for Yahoo co-founder Jerry Yang or a convenient placeholder until the company can be sold.

I have nothing against Thompson, who did an able, if very vanilla, job at PayPal, but there is nothing — nothing — that distinguishes him as a new media executive. With a wildly dysfunctional outfit like Yahoo, he’ll be in over his head from the first day. I hope for his sake there’s a golden parachute rip cord available for pulling.

His best hope — and it isn’t much of a hope […]

Prediction 5: No IPO for Facebook

Companies go public for many reasons but the two that are most common are: 1) to raise capital for further expansion, and; 2) to secure the wealth of the founders. Some companies go public for different reasons, like Microsoft’s IPO back in 1986 that was literally forced by excessive secondary trading of company shares. Gates and Shirley decided to accept the burden of going public because it wasn’t all bad, but they didn’t seek it because they didn’t need the money.

Neither does Facebook.

SEC rules say that once a company has more than 500 shareholders it has to file the same financial disclosures as any public company, which is a pretty big administrative burden and a […]

Prediction #4: Motorola buys TiVO

What’s going to happen with TiVO?  The pioneering Digital Video Recorder company is still in business with around a million subscribers and it has lately been settling patent infringement cases with big companies like Echostar and — just this week — with AT&T, but the longer term prospects for the company are dim. Yes, they’ll likely rake in hundreds of million more in settlements from companies including Verizon, but at the same time their subscriber base is dwindling and a point will come when their hardware will simply disappear as the company loses manufacturing economies of scale. That is unless they want to start shipping each new unit with a $100 bill attached — something […]