Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ballsy tech industry predictions for 2016

Most 2016 predictions about the tech industry by media and bloggers are pretty dull. They extrapolate from current trends or look to expected product launches in the upcoming year to make their forecasts.
Predicting an Apple Watch 2 or iPhone 7 and their expected features isn’t going out on a limb. (See “Apple 2016 predictions: Acquisitions, accessories.”)
The same goes for virtual reality with the upcoming launches of three major systems, including goggles from Facebook and Sony. (See “Cloud, Virtual Reality Among Top Tech Trends For 2016.”)
It takes a writer or analyst with some cojones to make predictions about mergers and acquisitions, CEO departures, and companies entering new product and service categories. That’s because they have a much greater likelihood of being wrong.
Check out the bold and sometimes wacky predictions for tech company M&A in 2016 in the Investors.com story “The wildest tech M&A predictions for 2016.”
Here are some other ballsy tech industry predictions for 2016:

Netflix launches movie download service in U.S.

U.K.-based research firm CCS Insight predicts that on-demand streaming video service Netflix will launch a movie download service in the U.S. in 2016.
“In an effort to differentiate its offerings as competitors move into its space, Netflix allows consumers to pay for and download individual titles, in addition to its regular streaming service,” the firm said in a report. “The move provides a new revenue source for the company as competition intensifies.”

Google buys Java from Oracle for $8 billion

Google will end its legal fight with Oracle over the Java programming language by buying Java from Oracle for $8 billion, predicts Thomas Claburn, editor at large for enterprise mobility at InformationWeek.
“Oracle paid $7.4 billion for Sun and Java. The only way for both Oracle and Google to exit the arena as winners will be the sale of Java,” Claburn wrote. “Oracle could use the money to accelerate its transition to the cloud, perhaps with a major acquisition of its own. And Google could become the steward of Java while retaining control of Android’s destiny.”

Google introduces voice-controlled appliance similar to Amazon Echo

Google will take its voice user interface, Google Now, and put it in a room appliance like Amazon’s Echo, Claburn said.
“It may have already done so, with OnHub, its recently introduced Internet router,” Claburn said. “A future version could include a microphone, or the current version could be updated to respond audibly to queries entered using a phone. You can bet that Google will connect its voice technology to IoT (Internet of things) devices sooner or later.”

Meg Whitman will declare victory and exit HP

Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise and chairman of HP Inc., will initiate a search for a replacement (if she hasn’t already), find one, and take a victory lap before departing, predicts Fortune reporter Barb Darrow.
“Stepping in after Leo Apotheker’s discredited 11-month stint as Hewlett Packard CEO; cleaning up after his $7.4 billion purchase of Autonomy; and negotiating HP’s breakup were jobs not for the faint of heart,” Darrow said. “And trying to keep the company relevant in an era where Amazon Web Services dominated the cloud computing discussion has not been easy. In 2016, we will see Whitman’s ‘Mission Accomplished’ moment.”

Yahoo will oust CEO Marissa Mayer

Seeking Alpha writer Bill Maurer thinks Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer will be shown the door in 2016.
“With revenues on the decline and earnings plunging, Marissa Mayer has not proven she can get the business headed in the right direction,” Maurer wrote. “She also lost a key ally on the board recently, which could prove to be costly if her position is up for debate. While a new leader may not be chosen during 2016, especially if she is axed late in the year, I do think it is time for the company to move on.”

Twitter puts up for-sale sign

The writers and editors of Variety predict that Twitter will put itself up for sale by the end of 2016. They see Google as a potential buyer.
“Approximately one year after naming Jack Dorsey its CEO, Twitter will run out of patience with a lack of meaningful results from his turnaround efforts,” Variety said. “The board will put the company on the block, attracting the biggest firms in the tech sector. But the winner will be Google, which has a gaping hole to fill in its social-media strategy given the failure of Google+.”

Jay Z will sell Tidal for more than he paid for it

Rapper and entrepreneur Jay Z will unload streaming music service Tidal for more than he paid for it, Forbes magazine writer Zack O’Malley Greenburg predicted.
“If the streaming service is hemorrhaging cash as fast as it’s been losing executives, that may sound like a preposterous idea,” he admitted. “Jay Z paid $56 million for the Swedish company nearly a year ago, and that’s looking pricey given the $75 million Pandora just paid to buy Rdio’s core assets out of bankruptcy. But Tidal does have 1 million subscribers – and many of music’s superheroes – in its fold. With streaming services scrambling to differentiate themselves through exclusive offerings, it’s quite possible that Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora or even a company like Samsung could essentially acqui-hire Jay Z and his crew”

Hoverboards will wobble into the mainstream

Fortune magazine writer Anne VanderMey predicts that so-called hoverboards will move from fad to mainstream success in 2016.
But first the makers of two-wheeled self-balancing boards will need to improve the quality of their devices, which have been known to overheat and catch fire.
“Expect to ride a hoverboard – or at least dodge one – in the coming months,” she said.

Anti-drone technology will rise

The growing popularity of personal drones, which people use as flying cameras, will lead to the rise of anti-drone technology, Yahoo Tech editor Dan Tynan predicts.
“The only thing people love more than reading about drones is hating them – witness all the cheering when a Kentucky man blasted one out of the sky with his shotgun last July. (Not to mention all the animals that love to attack drones.) Look for companies to come up with anti-drone technology that use nonballistic methods of ridding the flight zones of these pests,” he wrote. “Let the games begin, and let the odds be ever in the anti-drones’ favor.”
For instance, Battelle has developed an anti-drone gun that uses radio waves to knock drones out of the air. Its invention is called the DroneDefender.
And Tokyo’s Metropolitan Police Department is using “interceptor drones” carrying nets to catch suspicious looking private drones spotted flying above important government buildings.

Photo: DJI drone.

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