From the January 2009 Issue
As it was with the rest of the nation, the year 2008 was divided into three segments for the tech industry. The first third we could call the calm before the storm; the second was the shock of gasoline prices, and the third was a massive bungee jump called the economy.
Wedged in at the end was the falling price for most tech gear, resulting from Asian manufacturers dumping their products into the marketplace to capture what holiday spending there might be. This, in turn, spurred a massive buy of very cheap computers, large-screen TVs and other devices. But much of that activity occurred very late in the year and did not contribute much to any major buying trend.
We started the year wondering who would win their respective primaries, whether the nation needed new laws to protect “network neutrality,” and whether anyone in the cell phone industry could top the iPhone. We ended the year with a new president, a tech industry in disarray and a new cell phone from Google.
Along the way, rapidly rising gasoline prices should have spurred new interest in telecommuting, but it didn’t. It should have inspired AT&T, Verizon and Sprint to do a better job of finding a new and improved smart phone to compete with the iPhone, but it didn’t. It should have led to a little more respect for Windows Vista, which in spite of the goofy television ads is shaping up to be a strong and secure operating system; but it didn’t.
Instead, we got the following: a WiMAX debut that turned out to be less than impressive; the hacking of Sarah Palin’s e-mails; Comcast slowing the downloads from BitTorrent; a Yahoo! that didn’t want to merge with Microsoft, but in retrospect probably should have; a Yahoo! that tried to do a deal with Google, but likely won’t be able to; and a new generation of smaller, lighter sub-compact computers that road warriors seem to like even if they do have tiny screens and keyboards.
In short, it was a typical tech year in the midst of a very unusual economic,
social and political environment.
As for us, the lab rats at Kent Associates took their best shots at a forecast for 2008 and did a little better than in years past.
2008 PREDICTIONS & RESULTS