2007 will undoubtedly be a year to remember for the tech industry. The newly minted deal between Novell and Microsoft will have repercussions for years to come. Microsoft is pushing ahead with their offensive against Adobe, Apple's Leopard is sure to be a monster hit, and the gaming war has just started to heat up.
The music and video industries know DRM has not nor will it ever be, widely accepted. Expect a gradual shift to DRM free, albiet more expensive media and new deals with companies that can offer proprietary ways to deliver the content to minimize piracy.
Prediction: Sales will still fall, just not as much as before. Expect mergers across the media industry. The winner(s)? Consumers!
A year ago, music on your cell phone was unheard of. Now, with the success of iPod and iTunes, Apple is forging ahead with their plans for a media enhanced cellular platform. How will it be implemented? Who will carry the phone and provide service? Will Apple afford their users the ability to get a rebate with a service contract, or keep the Apple Premium intact? Mobile media is sure to be a hot space in 2007.
Prediction: Apple's phone will be big, just not as stellar as the iPod. Expect a new version of Windows Smartphone software to empower the latest devices, and more media and social content supported by mobile phones. The winner(s) of this market for '07? I expect Apple, Nokia, and Motorola will be the big winners.
HP is winning the war against Dell. Intel was bruised in 2006 by arch rival AMD. And Apple is gaining ground with Macs. Oh yeah, there's also that little thing called Vista.
Vista is going to be a smash hit in 2007. We already knew that. I mean, come on, it's Windows after all. But the big news this year is HOW Microsoft uses Vista, how the integrated DRM will be used and to what extent, and the adoption rate of this rather expensive albeit revolutionary OS. Leopard will gain share from those that defect from the Windows universe, and Ubuntu will be the new leader of the Linux and Open Source community.
Prediction: Expect AMD to launch a new family of hybrid (CPU+GPU) technologies, while Intel maintains their technological lead. HP to gain against dell and IBM in servers, and Apple to be unpredictable as always. Vista? It will of course dominated the headlines, but I doubt it will be because viruses and attacks. Big winner(s) of computing? Intel, HP, Apple will make and maintain good strides in 2007, and Ubuntu's underground following will become more mainstream.
Wii, Playstation 3, and Microsoft's XBOX 360- an amazing lineup for an amazing industry. Now that all three have launched, the war can really begin. The Wii has shown amazing sales in the last quarter. The PS3, well, has performed as expected. And X360 is already an established platform and has a powerful and loyal user base. With the talk of exclusives being lost from Sony, Microsoft launching strings of mega-hit franchises, and Nintendo stealing an unlikely audience to empower their empire, 2007 for gaming is unpredictable at best.
Prediction: Sony will ramp up production but it may be too late. Nintendo will face stronger competition than expected from Microsoft, and the XBOX360 will continue on its rise to power. Exclusives will switch the the X360 from Sony's grasps, and Microsoft may make a nice new purchase by years' end. Winner(s) of Gaming? Nintendo, Microsoft, and the agile and adaptable 3rd parties.
BIG WINNER/INDUSTRY FOR 2007?
Again, it is hard to predict what will be the big thing for 2007. Video came out of nowhere to be the "it" technology of 2006. Social networking proved to be more than a passing fad. And let's not forget CES, the new E3, and Mac World are coming in a short while.
I have to predict that the unexpected leading tech of 2007 will be the "universal platform". Access to your content from nearly any device, at any time, from anywhere with a connection. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo! have a decent start with this already. The ability to check your mail from anywhere. The ability to have a singular location for your bookmarks. Video chat from your phone, laptop, desktop pc and even Television. This whole unified and connected platform, I believe will be the big tech of 2007. And, to get the feeling that it is already happening, look no further than Live.com and Apple's iTV.