6 Predictions of 2007 – More Spam, Less Paper, Bigger Google

I thought it would be cool to look back on this post in 2008 and see how I did. These are 6 predictions I believe may come true by the end of this year.

Google will grow 20% to $600 a share.

I’ve already explained this in depth. In short, Google Checkout, the radio ad agency they purchased, YouTube, and an entry into the CPA ad market will fuel this growth. Of course, this growth won’t be until the end of the year when they report their Q3 and Q4 earnings. Q1 earnings may disappoint due to the new costs of running YouTube. But these costs will be offset with the sponsorship of YouTube by various content owners in the remaining quarters.

The single biggest stock spike will come when Google formally begins public CPA ad network trials.

Ruby remains the new Python and does not surpass either ASP, VB, C, C++, C#, or PHP, and does not enter the enterprise market in any significant way.

Sure, a few startups such as Digg may start out on Ruby and make it, but I predict now that no major entrenched corporation that goes online, nor one that is already online, will switch to Ruby. The only enterprise Ruby applications that will exist will be small startups that grew large. Ruby will replace Python as PHP replaced Perl (in the mind share sense).

Ruby on Rails made headway while there was no competition, but now there is plenty in .NET, Java, and PHP. When the Rails hype dies down, people will have to compare Apples to Apples again — Ruby as a language compared to others. While many have discussed its beauty and elegance, comments like that certainly didn’t help Python much either.

Dell rebounds, Apple grows more, Microsoft grows for once, and Vista makes it to laptops.

Now that there is a new operating system out, we will see some renewed spending on computers. Pay particular attention to Q4 where Dell should report large earnings on its laptops, right around when Microsoft gets out its first service pack. Microsoft’s Zune will continue to flounder while its operating system will make major inroads — on laptops. Luckily for them, the Xbox division will do finally turn in some profits, offsetting the cost of the Zune. The corporate desktop scene will hardly change at all this year for Microsoft as nobody can justify the huge costs of getting top of the line hardware for a new operating system when you can buy great XP machines from Dell for $300.

Meanwhile, Apple will release a major new product in the next three months. One will be “iTV”, and the other will be a new top of the line iPod. This may be the “iPhone” or just a new video iPod. Either way, this will continue to boost Apple’s stellar iPod sales, keeping its revenue strong and the halo effect stronger. We should see continued growth in the Apple market share as new people decide to give Apple a try.

Electronic paper will see its first true mainstream applications in the US, but it won’t catch on for another year.

Why a prediction about electronic paper? Because I think it will become hugely prevalent within the decade, creeping into virtually everything that touches electricity.

There is one product that could appear this year that will make e-paper big (and invalidate half my prediction): e-photo frames. Right now, there are those annoying “plug-in” photo frames. An e-paper version would mean the photo could sit without a power source, only requiring it during uploading. Since so many photos are digital these days, this would be a huge plus for people looking for an easy way to frame their photos themselves.

Otherwise, e-paper made an appearance in India late last year on a cell phone, and I think we’ll see production here in the US. But, it probably won’t sell very well due to an over-emphasis of the feature. I further predict that it will NOT appear in the old-media publishing industry (newspapers) because of its new-technology-averse nature and large trial cost (distributing readers). I give it a 50/50 chance that the credit industry picks this technology up this year in select trial markets. There is a small chance that a portable music player maker picks this technology up – but it won’t be Apple.

I think there is a very high likelihood that we will see a product that will allow someone to copy pages into a digital “handout” used in presentations (with a next button). Again, this product will probably languish in obscurity because photocopying just isn’t that inconvenient. E-paper’s real power will come when they have large scale production in swing, allowing for e-billboards and e-whiteboards (with pressure sensitive e-writing). That, and, of course, reading tablets. But these won’t hit the mainstream market for another year or two.

IE will still be #1, but monopoly abuse, no more.

That’s right, Internet Explorer 7 will continue to dominate. However, the share will soon look the iPod’s market share: 75% internationally (including IE6, that is). The prediction I am making here is that the downward spiral of IE will slow and even stop in some markets. Part of why is because Microsoft will try to make a new IE-only client-side application framework. IE7 just isn’t that bad, and Firefox’s growth is slowing down now that all willing early-adopters (and their friends) are tapped. That said, 2007 will still see a continued decline for IE.

Overall, IE will be weakest in Europe while Firefox will continue to gain share until Firefox averages about 25% there (IE gets 70%). In the US, Firefox will rise to 20% while IE will lose another 5% to end up at 75%, thanks to the continuing security leaks being reported. But don’t be mistaken — Microsoft is not going to be losing the browser war anytime soon. They just won’t be given a free ride anymore.

Microsoft will try to re-exert its monopoly power to make client-side IE-only web applications. This means the first IE-only Microsoft desktop web applications will show up late this year – complete with a new .NET libraries – and they will do well because they will center around Office. Most other software development businesses will not follow Microsoft and ignore 20% of the market, although some will. Firefox and friends won’t have a formal answer to the new technology until 2008, although portions of it will be emulated in Flash based implementations such as Flex.

IP technology will hit our homes, but not our living rooms.

While IP phones are making real progress in replacing conventional lines, IP TV will not replace the television set. While YouTube will grow in prominence, it will remain “just” a website until 2008 when mobile broadband technology (in the US) is mature enough to allow handheld streaming. While major content producers will sign up for YouTube, they won’t get on board with their arms wide open for at least a year due to the potential disruptive effect the medium will have on the traditional cash cow: prime time TV ad spots.

None of this will ever become main stream until regular TV viewing takes a dip, which won’t happen until a vast portion of the population becomes more comfortable with streaming videos online over watching commercial breaks on the TV sets. TiVo will have its day too, just not until near the end of the year when cable providers and networks realize they will be screwed out of the TV pie if they don’t react quickly. TV may eventually become a second monitor used only for media viewing, but if this does happen in a big way this year, it will either happen with Apple’s “iTV,” or not at all.

At the very least, I predict that YouTube will host a big event, such as the Super Bowl, a live news broadcast, or anything else that is live (or very close to live) and thus can be streamed with commercials and be *just like regular TV* in that it will be shown in a parallel time slot with the TV counterpart. I know they did a New Years thing this year (just online), but I’m thinking bigger and less anti-social sounding.

    And those are my predictions for 2007.