Last October I made 12 anti-predictions about what wouldn’t happen in 2014.  How have those panned out?  Let’s take them one at a time.

(1) No big mobile payments solution.

In-play.  So far, so broke.  There is no really big, one smartphone fits all, solution for the mobile payments problem.  I can’t buy at a bricks and mortar store with my phone, though I’m sure someday I will.

(2) No carrier consolidation.

In-play.  With Verizon and AT&T duking it out for number one, the question is would any of the other players, meaning Sprint and T-Mobile, consolidate to compete?  Well with the money of Japan’s Softbank, who now owns Sprint, there is an attempt to buy T-Mobile and consolidate the number 3 and 4 carriers.  This MIGHT happen, but only if the Obama administration FCC allows it and that is not a done deal.  This one could go either way.

(3) No iOS smartphone marketshare gain.

In-play.  As the smartphone OS marketshare table at this link shows, Apple was at 21% marketshare in 2012-Q4 and dropped to 18% marketshare in 2013-Q4.  iOS is sinking in worldwide marketshare, although treading water in the Apple-loyal US market.  The lack of a big screen has really hurt the iPhone and analysts are predicting Apple will provide one this year, but that’s just a prediction and not mine.  iOS is not going away, but it’s not winning either.

(4) No big HTML5 adoption.

In-play.  Mozilla is trying to push HTML5 into the mobile world with it’s new Firefox OS smartphone, but their organization got derailed this year by the Brendan Eich controversy.  The problem remains: will there be an open source winner in the mobile world?  HTML5 holds the most promise, but it’s still a promise not a reality as we all move from the browser to apps.

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

In-play.  Snapchat was the darling of last year, spurning a big Facebook $2 billion buyout bid.  Snapchat is approaching 30 million users and is riding the text messaging wave that is dis-intermediating carriers.  Carriers charge for text messages, but apps do not and that has pushed Snapchat and WhatsApp to valuable heights.  Facebook bought WhatsApp, and it hopes the nearly half billion users of it, for $19 billion.  So outside of Snapchat we’re seeing consolidation.  Snapchat is holding out, but will it rival Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp or will it fold?   This prediction is still in-play.

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

Yep, but Apple and Google agreed not to sue each other in an effort to fend off patent trolls, but the lawsuit follies continue.

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

In-play.  No stores for either yet.

(8) No Yahoo big win.

In-play.  Yahoo has been making the right small moves.  Flickr was updated and even blogging site Tumblr was acquired for $1.1 billion.  A recent partnership with Yelp, who spurned a Google buyout offer, may also help Yahoo, but there’s no big win yet.  Yahoo still awaits the fruits of the Alibaba IPO which will net Yahoo billions of dollars, perhaps tens of billions of dollars.  That will be a big win, depending on what they do with the money.  Will the billions be returned to shareholders as dividends?  Perhaps some, but I’m sensing CEO Marissa Mayer will hoard some cash to keep playing buyout bingo and that means an uncertain bet on acquisitions.

(9) No 5G technology in sight.

In-play.  The closest thing to poke up here was the Artemis pWave antenna, but there aren’t enough details on that yet to know if it’s serious.

(10) No smartphone from Amazon.

Doubtful.  My prediction here is doubtful because the New York Times ran a story on Sunday that Amazon will introduce a smartphone THIS WEEK.  I saw plenty of tablet, but no phone in Amazon so we’ll see if this one holds up or if Amazon does enter the smartphone fray.

(11) No buyout for Foursquare.

In-play.  None of the big players have stepped up to buy Foursquare yet.  Foursquare has taken nearly nine figures of venture capital making them an expensive purchase, one that only Google, Microsoft, Facebook or perhaps Yahoo could consider.  Foursquare itself is trying to figure out a way to earn money through advertising and has broken out the check-in aspect of its app to another app called Swarm.  I doubt Foursquare will transform itself into another version of Yelp successfully, but it is trying.

(12) No new chairman for Microsoft.

Doubtful.  This is a tricky one to call.  Microsoft did name a new CEO as expected, but both Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates remain on the board of directors.  Gates did step down as Chairman, but not off the board.  So on that level this prediction is wrong, but did Gates step down TEMPORARILY while he micromanages new CEO Satya Nadella or is he really putting one foot out the door?  I think I’ll have to cave on this prediction, but the year’s not over yet.

So there you have it, out of my dozen won’ts only two are suspected of becoming wills at this mid-year review.  10 out of 12 is not a bad batting average if that’s how this pans out.  Check in to PDXmobile at year’s end for another review and next year’s anti-predictions.



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