Mark Anderson is one of the most perceptive observers of the technology business that I know. Every year he issues his predictions for the next 12 months. Here’s the current batch.
# The Smartphone Market Breaks in Two: Secure / enterprise, vs. consumer / entertainment.
* Android dominates – and balkanizes – the consumer Smartphone Market, with Apple close behind offering its Monolithic Operations.
* RIM and XX dominate the Enterprise. XX should be Microsoft, but Apple gets it.
# Carriers Grab Power: Google has interrupted a transition of power from Pipes to Boxes. Android gives carriers power, while the iOS takes it away. Whose walled garden do you prefer? Pray for Apple, if you are a user.
# iTunes Seeds Its Own Competition: More real distribution competitors grow and prosper. Consumers want choice. This is a major business opportunity, on a global scale.
# The Micro-App Ecosphere Hits a Money Wall: Prices quickly escalate, and suddenly there are two types of micro apps companies: big ones that charge and survive, and cute little ones that don’t.
# Google Loses Its Way, failing to answer the critical question: “What Business Am I In?” even as Android, Google Phone, and e-ditions prosper (mostly without revenues). The company will be perceived as confused and unable to develop or support long-term strategy. Is this death by a thousand profitless successes?
# The Year of the Electric Car, Part II: Real Production Numbers, Real Sales Numbers, Real Charging Stations Popping Up Like Weeds. Cars regain technology interest as a technology platform, fueled by burgeoning global sales growth, new nationalist entries, and all-electric models.
# SNS CarryAlongs Remain the Fastest-Growing Segment in Computer Sales: We will see LOTS of new (9” x 7”) pads this year.
# Data Matters: Oracle, the world’s largest database company, Takes Off, and emerges as a global platform. Competitor SAP suffers. The Larry Ellison/Mark Hurd team becomes as legendary as Gates and Shirley once were, and for the same reason: the ideal match of tech visionary with operating maven.
# NetTV Is In, Cable Is Out: Penetration of IPTV use in the U.S. reaches 40%+. This marks a revolution in mass media. Cable and satellite suffer, and are wrong about customers not “cutting the cord.” Netflix benefits, and dominates the IPTV space, creating a breakout play for an already-amazing storybook company. Carriers (and countries) not providing real broadband suffer competitively. Old content players realize it is Dominate or Die in the new IP distribution world. New channels, and definitions of channels, abound.
# E-books Go Mainstream: While paper book sales remain healthy, e-book fractional share of all book sales goes ballistic. E-reading becomes as common as eating with a spoon. U.S. wholesale e-book sales should meet or exceed $160MM per quarter during 2011. Compound Annual Growth Rates will remain over 140%.