2005 Predictions: Keeping the Score
So it’s that time of the year. As is the case every year, I’m reviewing the predictions I made last year and looking at the score.
Voice Over IP
The big surprise here was the acquisition game. When I made the predictions last year, i thought that the acquirers would be larger telcos. However, companies like Ebay and Yahoo! have been playing the acquisition game, looking at telecom space as a feature to add to their product set.
It does, however, show the rise of European players in the US telecom market. Skype was clearly a European player that was seen as a major player in the US market, which explains the acquisition by Ebay.
Asterisk also experienced a banner year with deployments increasing in the small and medium enterprise market. It has not yet broken into the large scale enterprise market so I get only half points for this prediction.
The convergence I predicted in the post is now in full swing. the introduction of the Xbox 360 as a convergence device and the rise of the video iPod as a way to move television into the arena of small consumer electronics has turbocharged the space.
While MP3 has not yet become the standard for mobile phone, it is starting to emerge. The disastrous release of the Motorola ROCKR has probably slowed progress in that area but I still content that it will happen in the future. Pass on this one.
Meanwhile, the prediction that the movie industry would start suing is starting to come true. They’ve started with a campaign trying to convince people of the evils of illegal downloading. However, the MPAA seems to have learned, to some extent, about the disastrous effect of suing one’s customers and is being careful to not follow in the footsteps of the RIAA.
Also as predicted, legal downloading of television shows is happening. It came from an unexpected source in the form of Apple, which is now taking the formula it applied to music into the rest of the space.
The decision by both XM and Sirius to offer a combined solution that includes both Internet streams and satellite feeds in the same package is following my prediction that radio is about to be upended.
The rise of user-created content is also one of the big stories of 2005 and I believe it will continue through 2006. While no star has broken out of the podcasting and videocasting world, I believe we’re on the cusp of seeing this happen. On the video end, I believe rocketboom will be the first star to break out. Their recent announcement of a partnership with Tivo is just the beginning. On the podcast end, the space is getting more complicated: the entry of the mainstream players into the market could act as a buffer, keeping new players away or at least protecting the status quo.
Large mergers did indeed take the forefront in the 2005 year, however none of the mergers I predicted actually happened. A lot of money went into merger and acquisition budgets and has increased greatly in 2005.
Also impressive is the fact that many of the smaller players were the target of acquisition. It seems the new exit scenario for web 2.0 companies is not to go the IPO route but to find a larger company that will gobble you up.
This one is way off. Most of my predictions were off base: Apple did introduce a video player, to critical and consumer acclaim, and an iWork product suite, but they did not introduce any photo camera, a recording player, or a way to send images straight to printers. Their partnership with a phone company (Motorola and the ROKR) was fairly disastrous, showing the company still prefers going at it alone than trying to partner up.
Service oriented architectures, trust and security did take to the forefront this year. Meanwhile weblogs and content management systems have not merged yet. However, more and more large companies are starting to take a look at weblog software, with RSS become a major distribution channel. This trend will continue to accelerate into the new year.
On the personal front, I made a commitment to blog more often. While it looks like this commitment will not come true (I didn’t create more entries), it comes with a substantial disclaimer. This year, I tried to focus on longer, more analytical types of pieces. My decision of doing it that way was largely due to a decision to try to add to the overall discussion instead of rehashing what other people have been saying. The interesting thing is that this approach has actually resulted in more readership. You don’t have to blog a lot to get people to read you; you just have to craft quality blog entries.