Jason IT Industry Outlook 2012

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So here is a fun and serious look at the industry with my performance eye.  My commentary on what I see happening within the industry:

Patents: A great idea gone wrong.  Trolls are a great example of this.  Some IT titans now use them to protect their position within the industry, not to protect IP.  Companies in trouble raid the patent bank and turn troll.  Some titans just go after others.  The sad thing is the consumer ultimately loses; innovation & progression suffers.  I think there is a strong case for making many software patents have a much shorter lifetime (2 years?).

Intel: A company that doesn’t have enough ideas for its size.  Your abandoned child has come back to haunt you. I foresee massive trouble ahead Intel.  They no longer have a stranglehold on the MS platform with their x86 architecture. They now find themselves competing with unrepentant and innovative chip manufactures  (NVidia, Qualcomm etc).  They are no longer in a market controlled by them.  Even if they can compete in the new markets (Mobile / WOA) – they are stumped, the prices charged by these new companies are a fraction of what Intel would charge.  It not a good market for them, but they have to enter it.  I’m surprised they haven’t bought MIPS which is a fundamentally better performing architecture from the ground up, x86 will no longer cut the mustard.

MicroSoft:  The lumbering hulk of a company, who only truly innovates when there is genuine competition (Xbox/Kinnect/Win8/IE in the early days).  As soon as competition seizes they seem to seize.  Was I the only person that was amazed that wiggling windows in Win7 to auto resize was the best they could market with? A simple software update for VISTA would have done that.  A PDM.  Win8 could be their get of stagnation free card, Android is lacking as a practical and viable alternative to iOS or Win7.

PC Industry:  Stagnated and fundamentally held back by Windows and Intel.  What a mess.  Not helped by the crapware they install to cripple the PC’s they provide to consumers.  Consumers are tired and voting with their wallets.

Post PC: The melting pot where I see true unadulterated  progression ahead.  Chip manufacturers can innovate freely, Android/Win 8 & Apple OS’s choice for consumers.  I see the chip space as the area that will be the most exciting. Unshackled from x86 and with true competition – progression in this area is going to be truly exciting. I think Intel will be in dire trouble.

Tablets: Released from x86 and MS we can now truly see true computing power. Tablets have a fraction of the horsepower of an Intel Chip – but allow us to perform many tasks faster.

Apple: Once the preserve of the well healed with more design sense than tech sense, they now deliver compelling tech products at a competitive price point PC’s vendors struggle to match.  Their biggest friend is the stagnation and lack of innovation in the industry they train their site scope on next.  A profit driven Innovation Company. We have a lot to Viagra Online thank Apple for – they are responsible for driving innovation throughout the whole industry.

Google:: The golden child, that is now running  scared of Facebook.  I can’t help but think they have missed a golden opportunity to dominate tablets with ‘must have apps’ and a solid OS.  Give the consumer a solid, consistant OS with apps that can compete with Office in an offline mode.  Online is good in theory, bad in the real world. Win8 with office looks to be the one to look over your shoulder for.

Yahoo:  No new ideas, dying and tired.  Just waiting to be swallowed by a larger company needing to get into the web space.

Nokia:  MS’s rent boy, no need to buy.  I struggle to see why a company this big couldn’t go Android as well.  Why gamble a company’s future on an unproven technology. ELOP has a lot to answer for.

Blackberry:: The pony that has been proved to have only one trick

Sony: Great hardware held back by crap software.  Reduce your product lines and invest more in your software – by someone that understands software.

Software:: The way a consumer emotionally engages and builds a relationship with product.  Usability,  Usability, Usability.  Companies need to realise that this requires as much thought, effort and investment as the hardware they produce.

HP: Lots of bright sparks but none at the helm…..the wheel is turning but the hamster is dead.

Facebook:  A long-term determination not to be Profit Driven.  The result from my perspective looks like a stealthy (and initially unintentional, but now intentional) approach to owning the Web.

SOASTA: A small company no one knows – but is about to become big.  Watch out for Touchtest.

Oracle:  A PDM.  The Java patent case against Google has truly shown us your true colours.  They should never have been allowed to own MySQL.

Nvidia:  I had high hopes for these but have been surprised these guys have been caught on the hop.  The have underestimated the competition and technical prowess of mobile companies.  Jen Hsum Huang – can you finally deliver on your huff and puff (IDC).

ARM:  The tiny acorn that is turning into a oak. The enabling company that at the centre of the prolific innovation that is happening today and tomorrow – much as I like you, its never good to just have one. Come on MIPS.  Ps. Thank you for enabling the exciting times ahead.

So what does the future hold? Exciting times as the desktop PC gets replaced with the truly portable PC – a tablet that will dock.  ARM chips will compete easily with Intel chips for a fraction of the price.  Chip manufactures competing and driving performance, cost and innovation.  Having a choice of MS/Google/Apple OS’s – Ultimately the consumer will win.

*PDM: My term coined for a Profit Driven Monopoly.  A company that has a monopoly position and slows  innovation and concentrates on how to maximise profits from their locked in customers.

*IDC:  Innovation Driven Company:: A company that is gaining market share primarily through innovation and giving customers what they want.

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