What is an anti-prediction?

It’s something that won’t happen and here are 12 things that won’t happen in 2014.

(1) No big mobile payments solution.

Near Field Communication (NFC) is the Great Green Hope for mobile payments.  NFC is starting to show up in smartphone hardware, but still has a very long way to go.  Your tablet probably doesn’t have NFC.

NFC piggybacks on the same 13.56 MHz frequency that contactless cards use.  The credit card industry marketed contactless cards as a faster way to pay and contactless card readers were sold to transaction time-sensitive businesses like fast food restaurants and convenience stores.  Contactless cards contain a chip that activates in the presence of the electromagnetic field generated by a card reader.

The problem is that for NFC to take hold there has to be widespread merchant adoption of the contactless readers.  Merchants don’t want to buy new credit card terminals until customers want to use them.  It’s a classic chicken and egg problem waiting for Apple to solve it.  Eventually Apple will solve it, but not in 2014.

(2) No carrier consolidation.

The Obama FCC nixing the AT&T takeover for T-Mobile has frozen the current players until the next president.  Verizon and AT&T will continue to duke it out for number one and way, way back Sprint and T-Mobile will continue to try things to grab a few more customers, or at least lose fewer.

Verizon uses CDMA technology while AT&T uses the more universal GSM tech.  Sprint is CDMA and T-Mobile is GSM, so it would be natural for Verizon to gobble up Sprint and AT&T to acquire T-Mobile.  AT&T tried just that, offering to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion in 2011, but the Obama FCC torpedoed it.

So no Obama-allowed buyout of T-Mobile also means no Obama-allowed buyout of Sprint.  Sprint was acquired by Japan’s Softbank in 2012 for $20 billion, but really Sprint’s natural home is as a subsidiary of Verizon to consolidate the redundant spectrum using the same technology.  Still this won’t happen while Obama is in office.

(3) No iOS smartphone marketshare gain.

The so-called “low cost iPhone” was too expensive and too late.  The iPhone 5C was a great way to recycle last year’s unsold inventory, but not a real attempt at competing with Android on price.  A low-cost iPhone in 2011 might, might have stalled the overwhelming push of Android into uber-dominance, but now it’s only a gesture at trying to retain the minority marketshare Apple has.

Note that I am not saying iOS marketshare will actually decline.  It might, but I’m not predicting it.  Windows Phone appears to be winning at iOS expense, but it’s still too soon to tell for sure.

(4) No big HTML5 adoption.

HTML5 is the Great Web Hope to unify development across multiple platforms so developers have less to learn and managers can spend less on development.  That’s the theory.

In practice native apps are more popular than ever with both the Android Play Store and Apple’s App Store poised to top one million apps EACH.

The new Firefox OS for smartphones has found some love from ZTE, but is still only selling on low-end devices for the third world.  This won’t change in 2014.

(5) No big new social network to rival Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

Snapchat is the darling now for it’s deliver and delete messaging system and it has a reported eight million users.  Will Snapchat be snapped up?  I think it will be snapped up or snuffed out by copycat functionality in the big social boys.

(6) No let-up in technology patent lawsuits.

If anything, with Microsoft buying Nokia, lawsuits will increase as the remaining non-mobile Nokians in Finland will redouble their efforts to get some cash from their patent trove.  Also look to Blackberry to partner with some other firm and push back in court.

(7) No Amazon or Google bricks and mortar stores.

Apple did, Microsoft did, Samsung has a place in Best Buy.  Google and Amazon WON’T open bricks and mortar stores.

(8) No Yahoo big win.

Despite modest improvements, Yahoo will not make a major move forward.  Marissa Mayer staunched the bleeding, but big innovation has not and will not arrive.  Flickr was improved, but Instagram still reigns and will continue to.  Summly was bought for $30 million to scan news and generate shorter synopses, but this still is derivative work, not actual content generation.

No new technology, meaning hardware devices or winning big audience websites will come from this behemoth of the past.

(9) No 5G technology in sight.

While 4G is still being deployed, but is fairly widespread in the United States, we crave more bandwidth.  What’s next?  5G will be the fifth generation mobile technology and as with all its predecessors it will be better, faster and cheaper.  We want it.  We won’t get it.

(10) No smartphone from Amazon.

Rumors abound and there are new Kindle Fire HDs to be considered for your purchase and enjoyment, but Amazon will not join the smartphone market since it would mean cozying up to carriers and wining and dining those operators.  That takes a dedicated sales force for shmoozing, not just an engineering team making a smaller tablet.

(11) No buyout for Foursquare.

Foursquare has raised $71 million of venture capital since its inception.  This makes Foursquare an expensive acquisition, one perhaps only Google or Microsoft would consider.  I don’t think they will consider this extravagance since location-based mobile use cases have been very hard to monetize.  Foursquare still struggles to make a case to advertisers.  I expect Foursquare to glide as far as their venture dollars will let them.

(12) No new chairman for Microsoft.

Bill Gates will continue on and on as Chairman of Microsoft.  It is all about him, despite investor’s desire for a fresh look at the business.  Actually CEO Steve Ballmer’s departure will likely lengthen Gates stay as conservative investors won’t want to completely break with the successful past leadership.

So there you have it.  A dozen things you can’t count on for 2014.

One Response to “Anti-predictions for 2014”

  1. [...] count on for next year are predicted.  Check out what won’t be in next year’s news here.  Posted by admin at 6:57 [...]

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