Last post of the year from me and I've decided to ask five questions that could have some bearing on the areas I cover in this space in the next year. If you read me regularly, you know I write a lot about Google, Apple and Microsoft. I'm also fond of eBooks and cell phones (and assorted other technologies).
So I decided to ask five questions, and if I remember a year from now, perhaps I'll revisit my questions and see if there were clear answers.
Can Apple sustain white hot earnings growth?
I've written several times this year about Apple's incredible earnings growth during what many have called the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. That Apple has been able to sell high-priced gadgets and computers in this environment bodes well for them, but can they maintain this growth in the coming year?
I'm betting they can, especially if they release the highly anticipated Tablet, but nothing is guaranteed, and you have to wonder at what point you reach market saturation and the growth stops.
Will Microsoft find a way to capitalize on mobile computing?
One of the hottest areas in computing these days is mobile computing, but it appears to be a battle that Microsoft is losing badly. Gartner reported that Microsoft lost close to an astounding one third of its Mobile OS market share in 2009 and reviews of Microsoft Mobile 6.5 were so bad, even Steve Ballmer had to admit the company screwed up its release.
With Windows Mobile 7 due next year, the big question is whether Microsoft can survive in the Mobile space, while Google's Android OS-powered phones are pulling massive market share and Microsoft's mobile reputation appears to be in shambles.
Will Google Wave develop or fade into the dustbin of Google Labs?
There was a lot of talk about Google Wave this year, but when all was said and done, it was really very early in the development process and there were no clear use cases on the horizon. While the technology surely has potential, it was still very raw.
Can the Google Wave interface and tools develop for it to be less confusing for end users? Can clear, compelling use cases develop, and if they can, how does this tool fit into the overall core search/advertising strategy in the rest of the company?
Will AT&T and Verizon stop the silly map wars?
Of all the crazy ad campaigns we've seen in the last couple of years, perhaps the silliest is the escalating coverage map campaign between Verizon and AT&T. For a short time, it appeared that Verizon succeeded in putting AT&T on the defensive, but now it's just a mess designed to confuse consumers.
Can we agree that nobody has coverage everywhere and that there are lots of factors that go into coverage quality including the quality of the phone itself? The campaigns from both sides have become an annoying and misleading sideshow, but can they let go and move on in 2010? Let's hope so.
Will eBooks Readers find a price point for mass adoption?
I became fascinated with eBook Readers this year as the market began to grow beyond the Kindle and Sony Reader. Will we see additional Reader manufactures enter the marketplace in 2010? What impact will Apple have if it releases a Tablet? Will increased competition in this space drive down the price, especially if someone swoops in with a low-cost device that undercuts the rest of the market? This market is still young and I believe that more companies will enter this space and force the price down, which in turn will drive up adoption.
In closing, I want to thank everyone who has read this blog this year, and especially those who left comments. I look forward to continuing the discussion in 2010.