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Seven for 2007 – Some New Predictions and a Look at 2006

It’s prediction time again. Before I jump into my new set of predictions, let’s take a peek at last year’s crop of predictions. Full text can be found here:

2006 Predictions – What was the verdict?

1. Windows finally makes real headway in the smartphone market.
Verdict: I think this is more or less true. The BlackJack, the Star Trek, the Motorola Q, and a handful of other well-selling phones are running Windows. It’s not yet dominant, but it made a lot of progress.

2. There will (finally) be a cool Windows-powered MP3 music player to compete with the iPod.
Verdict: Calling the Zune “cool” at this point is a stretch. But it’s a start. I was kinda off on this one.

3. Firefox gets very close to 25% market share in the browser market.
Verdict: I was a bit too aggressive. Most of the estimates I see are in the 15-20% share.

4. Vertical search shakeout.
Verdict: I was wrong on this one. If anything, there were more new and interesting vertical search startups.

5. Video is still the hardest form of content to monetize on the web.
Verdict: This was true, in my opinion. Video exploded, but monetization is still in its infancy.

6. The Sony PS3 will absolutely crush the Xbox 360 in terms of sales and buzz.
Verdict: Early indications are that I am way off here.

7. Tagging expands its reach, but is still a niche activity.
Verdict: I feel like this was more or less true.

Seven New Predictions for 2007

1. Yahoo! will get something right in a major way in 2007, but it won’t be Panama
I can’t put my finger right on what it is that Yahoo! will get right, but I am very sure it won’t be Panama. It could be their Q&A product, Flickr, or some other product in development. I do think that Yahoo! will get something right and it will be significant, in terms of perception and impact on their business.

2. The IPO market will come back, but it won’t mean anything for web 2.0 companies
The IPO market will come back in a meaningful way in 2007. The beneficiaries will be established companies in communications, enterprise software (gasp), and traditional services business. Web 2.0 IPOs will be few and far between, if any of them even happen at all.

3. Videoblogging will be the podcasting of 2007
Coming into 2006, there was a ton of buzz about podcasting. By the end of the year, podcasting had certainly lost some of its luster as a mass market opportunity. I think that videoblogging (or whatever you want to call it) will be the podcasting of 2006 — by midyear we will see that this two is a niche market.

4. Slingbox and TiVo will get together in a meaningful way (possibly via acquisition) to unite placeshifting and timeshifting.
I own both products. Timeshifting is great, but timeshifting plus placeshifting is the killer combination — it’s the only way to have TV on your terms and it’s really an unbeatable combination. At some point I think that these two companies will see that it is in their mutual best interest to have tighter linkages between their products.

5. If 2006 was about the battle for consumers, 2007 will be about the battle for developers in the consumer web world.
If last year’s hype and excitement was around capturing the hearts and minds of web 2.0 savvy consumers, this year will see more focus on acquiring and developing communities of developers and programmers who can extend the functionality of offerings from both start-ups and established companies.

6. Municipal Wi-Fi will spawn a very cool “ah ha” kind of technology or application that we haven’t really seen yet.
You can count this one as a very vague prediction. I have a feeling that we will see something cool happen in the real of muni wi-fi.

7. Photos will become hot again.
I think 2006 was the year of video. I think that the lowly photo will come back to the forefront in 2007. There have got to be billions of photos online today and there isn’t really much to do with them at the moment. I think that there will be some applications that go beyond simple tagging, printing, and organization to provide some more interesting functionality around how pictures are shared, managed, and presented online.

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