Monday, January 20, 2014

Johnny-come-latelies with 2014 predictions

Some prognosticators were procrastinators with their 2014 predictions.
Here’s a round-up of interesting predictions for 2014 that came in after my last few articles on the subject.
Of course, we might not even finish the year since Norse mythology has the end of the world set for Feb. 22. The Viking apocalypse is called Ragnarok. (See articles in the Daily Mail and Mirror.)

Christian commentator Pat Robertson

Christian media mogul Pat Robertson made some 2014 predictions in an interview on CBN.

Economic crisis in China

“Sometime during the year there’s going to be some kind of a credit crisis,” he said. “And I think China is going to lead the way. That whole economy is like a house of cards. And when it starts falling, it’s going to affect the entire world.”

Iran gets a nuke

“I do believe the Iranians will have a nuclear device before the end of the year,” he said. “And (President) Obama is using a tactic of containment that’s not going to work.”

Problems for President Obama

“I think the president will be severely hampered. America is going to turn against him much more so than now as that Affordable Care thing starts biting hard as it is. He’s going to be discredited terribly.”
Robertson says Obama will avoid governing and instead devote his time to traveling.

Differing predictions on ObamaCare

While Robertson thinks ObamaCare will be a disaster in 2014, Byron Wien, vice chairman of Blackstone Advisory Partners, thinks the problem-plagued health care program will turn itself around.
“The Affordable Care Act has a remarkable turnaround,” Wien predicted. “The computer access problems are significantly diminished and younger people begin signing up.”

M&A

Apple will buy TiVo, predicts Dan Mirkin of Trade Ideas.

Liberty Media, Charter or Comcast will buy Time Warner Cable, predicts BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield.

Verizon will acquire Intel Media and launch the country’s first virtual cable TV service, Greenfield says.

Microsoft will buy one or two media companies, says Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute. The outcome of these moves will pave the way for further media purchases by non-media companies throughout the year.
“It’s going to open the floodgates and 2014 will be marked as the year that non-media companies started buying media companies and you’re just going to see it take off,” Pulizzi said.

Yahoo will buy Business Insider, predicts Chris Ciaccia, technology editor for The Street.
“(Yahoo CEO Marissa) Mayer has been acquiring talent, most recently David Pogue of the New York Times and Katie Couric,” Ciaccia said. “The two companies already have a close relationship, with Business Insider CEO and Editor in Chief Henry Blodget appearing frequently on Yahoo Finance programs.”

Jawbone, Fitbit or both will get acquired, Ciaccia said. Both play in the wearable technology and fitness device market. Potential buyers include Nike, which already makes the Nike Fuelband, and Under Armour, which acquired MapMyFitness for $150 million in November.

IPOs

Uber and Lending Club will go public, says Howard Lindzon of StockTwits.

Hillary Clinton won’t run for president

“Hillary Clinton decides not to run for President in 2016,” Blackstone’s Wien predicted. “She says her work with various Clinton non-for-profit initiatives is important and unfinished. Specifically, she explains that her health was not an issue in her decision. The Democratic race for the top seat becomes chaotic.”

Differing predictions on smartwatches

“Smartwatches are dead in 2014,” wrote Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies. “All attempts at creating a smart watch for the masses have failed. The ones on the market today only appeal to male geeks and ultra early adopters Although we may sell as much as 1.5 million smart watches in 2014, unless someone masters the issue of elegant design and style matched with non geeky technology, they are not going to be a product for the mass market anytime soon.”

But Avram Piltch, online editorial director for Laptop, sees things differently.
Smartwatches will “finally break through” in 2014, Piltch predicts. “In 2014, we expect Google and Apple to enter the smartwatch market in a big way. With Apple’s ability to leverage Siri and Google’s Google Now, both companies have assistant services that should work really well on your wrist, along with the ability to mass produce electronics at reasonable prices. Samsung will step up its game with a follow-up to the Galaxy Gear.”

Google Glass goes mainstream

Google’s computer glasses, Google Glass, will attempt to reach a larger audience in 2014. In 2013, the cyborg headsets were made available to early adopters for $1,500 each.
Dan Rowinski, mobile editor at ReadWrite, predicts that Google will announce a retail version of the device for $299 at its Google I/O conference in May.

Forbes contributing writer Mark Rogowsky thinks Google Glass will go commercial, but cautiously.
“Knowing that a full-on commercial launch of a low-priced Google Glass would be met with failure, Google instead releases Glass as a ‘Beta Edition’ for $699,” he predicted. “With a decent supply of apps, early adopters find the functionality very satisfying even while the battery life remains absolutely atrocious. Talk immediately turns to Google Glass 2.0, which is shown just months later, is much more stylish, but has very vague answers about the battery.”

Adam Kmiec, director of global digital marketing and social media, Campbell Soup Company, believes Google Glass “will flop, UNLESS the consumer version has a built in cellular connection.”

Snapchat crashes

At least two prognosticators predict that photo-sharing service Snapchat will crash in 2014.

“Snapchat will implode,” Kmiec says. “It will grow its user base, but won’t figure out how to monetize the platform. All the while, Facebook/Instagram, Twitter and Google will come up with extensions to their platforms that will provide the basic utility of SnapChat, but for a mass audience.”

The Snapchat valuation bubble will burst, The Street’s Ciaccia predicted. The popular messaging app that allows users to send messages to their friends and have them disappear within 10 seconds has been valued at $2 billion. It reportedly turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook and a $4 billion offer from Google.

Photo: Fortune Teller windows by Flickr user Scott Swigart.

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