Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Google to acquire Netflix and other ballsy 2013 tech industry predictions

Most year-ahead prediction articles are yawners because their predictions are either obvious or intentionally vague.
But sometimes prognosticators take a big risk and make bold predictions for the coming year. I’ve assembled some of those here along with other predictions that I found interesting.

2013 tech industry predictions, part one:

1. Google will buy Netflix.

Research firm CCS Insight thinks Google will buy Netflix in 2013. The acquisition of Netflix’s premium subscription video service would complement Google’s free, ad-supported YouTube service. The acquisition also would improve Google’s relationships with major studios and content rights holders.
In the past, other predicted Netflix acquirers have included Amazon.com and Microsoft.

2. Microsoft will buy TiVo.

CCS Insight expects Microsoft “to buy TiVo or a TiVo-type service to integrate its technology in the next-generation Xbox” video game console, according to Consett Magazine.

3. Google will buy Twitter.

Microblogging service Twitter will get acquired in 2013, says Dylan Collins, founder and CEO of several Internet and online gaming companies including Phorest (acquired by MBO), DemonWare (acquired by Activision Blizzard) and Jolt Online Gaming (acquired by GameStop).
“At some point the current investors look around and realize that the entire stock has now been re-sold at least five times. Hard to see how Google doesn’t buy it,” he said.

4. Microsoft or Facebook will buy Yahoo.

Marshall Sponder, an independent Web analytics and SEO/SEM specialist, puts “even money” on Microsoft or Facebook buying Yahoo in 2013.
Microsoft tried to buy Yahoo in February 2008 in a deal initially valued at $44.6 billion, but Yahoo rejected the bid, which was later sweetened. As of late December, Yahoo was valued at $23.2 billion, with shares rising under new CEO Marissa Mayer.

5. Twitter will buy Foursquare.

“Foursquare will be acquired by Twitter in 2013,” Sponder predicts. “If Foursquare isn’t acquired by Twitter in mid 2013, it will irrelevant by the end of 2014.” The platform is losing momentum, he said.

6. Yahoo will buy Foursquare.

Bryce Maddock, CEO of TaskUs.com, predicts that Yahoo will buy FourSquare.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer “knows better than anyone that she and Yahoo will live or die with mobile,” he said. “That Mayer’s mandate is so clear, makes bringing Yahoo back to relevancy no less difficult. I don’t expect Mayer is being entirely honest when she says Yahoo will move into mobile through small acquisitions … The fact is, to catch up with the widening lead of Facebook and Google in mobile, Mayer and Yahoo will need more than just a toe in the water; at some point they are going to cannonball into the mobile pool. My bet is on FourSquare.”

7. Zynga will go private.

Social gaming company Zynga will go private next year, says entrepreneur Dylan Collins.
“Wall St. likes predictability. Do you honestly think that’s the place for a company transitioning its entire business from Facebook to mobile while also experimenting with social gambling? I’m guessing Q2,” he wrote.

8. China Mobile will try to buy Deutsche Telekom.

China Mobile’s efforts to expand into Europe will trigger a wave of global consolidation in 2013, CCS Insight says.
“China Mobile will try to buy Deutsche Telekom,” the research firm says. “Its move will meet considerable resistance in Germany, allowing France Telecom to step in and lead a Franco-German merger. This will prompt a rash of consolidation that affects Telefonica, Telecom Italia and several networks in Scandinavia. China Mobile will snap up some of the assets that the newly merged entities will be obliged to divest to satisfy regulatory concerns. These could include operators in Eastern Europe, which may then deploy Chinese TD-SCDMA networks.”

9. Microsoft buys GetSatisfaction or Lithium.

Market research firm IDC predicts that Microsoft will beef up its customer relationship management offerings by acquiring a community management platform like GetSatisfaction or Lithium.

10. RIM restructures into two divisions: a services unit and a hardware unit.

Research In Motion is predicted to split into two units by CCS Insight. A services division would focus on the BlackBerry service and network infrastructure. The hardware division would develop BlackBerry handsets and mobile operating systems.

Photo: Netflix promotional art.

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