Apologies for the long silence, which was mainly due to an extended holiday absence. Before you feel envious, it was our first multi-stage international trip with:
and we really could use another whole vacation to recover from it...
But back to business: in early 2007 I made 10 tech market predictions, so here's a reckoning to see how I fared. On reviewing these I realised that many of them were of the slightly cheeky, undoubtedly-true-but-difficult-to-prove variety, so I shall resolve to to be more specific for my 2008 predictions (to follow) to keep it interesting.
Here is a summary of last year's predictions & my grade:
- Web 2.0 technologies will begin to appear in serious enterprise apps, as vendors incorporate wikis, blogs and RSS feeds into their applications, starting with CRM and other consumer-facing apps. TRUE, BEGINNING WITH SAAS VENDORS.
- There will be very few high-value exits of Web 2.0 companies, but probably many more investments, leading to an eventual VC bust (in 2008?) not unlike the dot-com bust of 2001 (but smaller). HALF TRUE, BUST YET TO COME. But come it will.
- Actual adoption of Microsoft's new Vista operating system will underwhelm and Microsoft's share price will begin to suffer. MOSTLY FALSE. Vista sales have not been what Bill expected, but it hasn't affected the share price yet. MSFT is up about 35% over 12 months and outperformed NASDAQ by 10% or so.
- We will see the first serious cracks in the indomitable Googleplex -- how many wheels will in fact come off? Investors beware.... FALSE. But I'm definitely rolling this one forward!
- Multimedia content for mobile phones (3D games, video, etc) will start to come of age, but more slowly than anticipated. It will take time to overcome the many usability hurdles. TRUE, STILL TRUE, BUT TOO EASY.
- Business software for the SME market will get a major boost, as vendors attack the midmarket with new, scaled down applications. TRUE for both new and old vendors. New SAAS vendors are springing up to make business-level functionality available to SMBs. Client-server giants like SAP are investing heavily in midmarket offerings.
- Offshore technology vendors -- not content to do pure services work -- will continue to push into Western markets with their own product sets. TRUE-ISH: it's still early days for Indian packaged software. The largest firms, like Infosys and i-Flex are still the main examples.
- Expect to see lots of new applications for small vertical markets. The combination of SOA and Web 2.0 technologies makes it easy to build apps for the long tail of micro markets. TRUE. Lower cost of development and delivery has led to an avalanche of niche apps. We've seen everything from employee feedback management software through to environmental data reporting suites. Great news for users and investors alike, although picking large enough markets will be key for the latter.
- Consolidation in the WiMAX market will begin as the large chip and equipment vendors jostle for a piece of the infrastructure build-out. Still too early for actual services of any scale though... TRUE. Cisco launched the first consolidation shot in December with the acquisition of Navini. Sprint/Clearwire remains the biggest WiMAX network project, and it has been on shaky ground (but seems to be going ahead) .
- The line between information services and software functionality will become increasingly blurred, as more managed services effectively bundle both. VERY TRUE. The most interesting SaaS businesses we see are those that collect customer and industry data which has value in its own right. Combining a software and data service can be very profitable and very sticky.
There you have it. I'll call that a 7/10 caveated with the promise that I'll make meatier, harder predictions for 2008! Stay tuned....