Mark Anderson's Ten Tech Predictions For 2007

by: Eric Savitz

Don’t you just love predictions? Here’s a set of 10 for 2007 from Mark Anderson, editor of the Strategic News Service, the always fascinating technology newsletter.

This is a slightly abridged version of the list as published in the current edition of the newsletter:

  1. The first market acceptance of e-phones in the U.S.: I’ve been writing about phones that pay for things for almost a decade, but finally it’s come time when the U.S. market is ready. This is because the RFID and NFC radio technology is ready, together with increased security; because the readers are now entering the marketplace; and because phone operators have finally formed a consortium for accepting and promoting this use.
  2. Authentication Everywhere: At a time when many have given up on the idea of privacy (Scott McNealy leaps to mind), the prevalence and concern regarding ID theft will force makers of all personal appliances to consider including or strengthening authentication features. Look for finger swipes on more kinds of appliances, as well as increased biometric sensing, including voice.
  3. Led by the Tesla, 2007 is the first Year of the Electric Car: Why go halfway with a hybrid, when you can go all the way and use the electric grid as your gas station system?
  4. Oil goes up (not down), returning to the $70-80 range, continuing an unmatched global wealth transfer: Because of this, solar power will go mainstream next year, with multiple state and utility subsidy programs.
  5. Online advertising continues its growth, at a 20-30% rate: I think we will end up at the high end of this call, with online ads overtaking magazine ads during the year…The rapid movement of this money to the Net will be a primary incentive for new company formation.
  6. Dollar falls further vs. euro; yen/dollar will decline to the 105-110 range: We all know that Japan has long been an interventionist in international currency markets, in order to support its (somewhat artificial and mercantilist) export market. This year, I think Japan will have to spend $500 Billion - $1 Trillion in interventions for the year, which will be an all-time record in anyone’s book.
  7. The year when the New Russia emerges, dragging the New Cold War right behind it: Here’s the new handbook for negotiating in Thugland: I give you $5 Billion for two thirds of an oil project (or minerals, or –); you take my money, and immediately demand one third back. If I don’t buy in, you burn my refineries, kill my managers, and / or cancel all my drilling permits. Pretty good deal, eh? No wonder Russians are starting to look on Stalin with nostalgia.
  8. The year when X,Y Computing takes over: We’ve been waiting forever for things to move into the parallel computing universe on a daily scale, and this is the year when it happens. Sure, we’ve got duals and quads now in the mix, but this is the year when we never look back again: we turn the computer on its side (therefore X,Y instead of Z), and run many processes instead of trying to cram more electrons into a single channel.
  9. The year of the Flash [NAND] Wars: It’s a bit hard to believe, but we are looking at a year when 17 new chip fabs will be coming online, and most of them are in the NAND business. This means flash memory prices take a dive, flash-based computers take hold, and everything that can use memory will, and more of it… This alone will help to fuel a new explosion in consumer electronics, just when some thought it was taking a pause, with the result of pulling up sales for other chip and component makers, etc.
  10. The iPod maintains its dominion in MP3 for the year, but that dominance is increasingly challenged as iTunes slips share: In most eyes, the Zune will be considered a failure during the year (although Microsoft claims it has only modest sales goals for Year One). However, by the end of 2007 iTunes will be beginning to lose share to other audio and video distributors with more generous Digital Rights Management schemes (play on any/many players, etc.). This could turn Wall St. against Apple, unless there is a new story, like the fabled i-phone.

Anderson couldn’t stop himself at 10. He’s got bonus predictions:

  • The EU continues to reject Turkey.
  • Chinapan: China and Japan, together, become recognized as the new, integrated manufacturing center of the world.
  • Segolene Royal becomes President of France.
  • One-to-one computing becomes a normal alternative for teaching: The question no longer becomes should kids have their own computer, but when can they.
  • Boeing leaps beyond Airbus, and books at least 25% more orders.
  • The global economics will be led by oil, cheap labor and money - specifically, global liquidity and currency rates.
  • This will be the Year of Microsoft, as the company releases both flagship products and tries to sell more games than there are birthday cakes. For the second reason, I think the growth rates in technology will be on the high end, perhaps 12-15%.