So every year I put my nostradamus hat on and make bets as to what will happen in the upcoming year. I’m like 65% correct over the last 5 years, I should be wagering money on this. So here are my bets for 2012
- Square will get bought out by Amex or Visa.
Price will be in the $5B range. Dorsey will make sure it remains network agnostic (i.e. keeps accepting cards from the competitors).
- Facebook will IPO and break the recent tech IPO slump
This makes sense because Facebook actually makes money, whereas sites like groupon and zynga aren’t anywhere near as profitable as they would have previously liked us to believe.
- LivingSocial catches up to Groupon
I suspect LivingSocial’s more cautious approach to this market has left them in a much better financial situation relative to cash flow than Groupon, so they will use this to pull ahead. I do see the daily deal market stagnating though. So any lead changes will be due to non-daily-deal innovations they pull out of their hat. Think instant deals, and providing marketing services outside of deals to these small businesses they have.
- RIM sells to Microsoft for less than $5B
Seeing an opportunity to instantly force-upgrade everyone on blackberry to Windows Phone 8 with built in MSN Messenger, Microsoft buys the pieces of RIM, and leverages their connections in the enterprise world to push Outlook and Exchange. I see this as another skype like deal, since they can use their foreign cash assets to buy RIM (seeing as RIM is Canadian).
- Amazon continues to grow its hardware business
I see them releasing a kindle phone using android, and a larger Fire DX model. I expect them to ship 10-15M kindle devices in 2012. 20% of them being Fire models (android with color screens etc).
- Amazon will still survive despite states imposing sales taxes
The sales tax savings will be gone to most consumers, but with Amazon pushing harder on Prime services, the convenience and lower prices will still be enough to shift consumers away from Big Box retail. Their growth will be slower than in previous years though.
- Mobile commerce explodes in US.
Visa is making a HEAVY push for their retailers to upgrade to NFC equipped point of sale machines. Now the only component left is for the phone makers to integrate NFC into their devices en masse. This won’t happen until LATE 2012, expect it in the iPhone 5. However I do see tie ins with location + mobile + payments converging. Think paying for your meal by seeing the bill on your phone at your table, and hitting checkout. Question is who will be the network for that transaction or who will be the gateway. I could see Apple and Google fighting this one out. I don’t see NFC as the end solution, more the bridge solution in this. I do see the traditional point of sale device changing substantially (why do we still need cash registers? Apple retails have 1 per store yet sell on the floor more).
- Salesforce buys a number of social media integration companies
My guess is Hootsuite will be bought by salesforce in the $30-40M range. I could also see them buying Klout in the $10-15M range.
- Facebook hits 1 billion users
This number is less important than the active users, which will be in the 500M daily, and 500M on mobile (up from 350M mobile users now). The mobile is the key number, as that is where their growth will be in the next year or two. As of Dec 31, they were saying they had 800M users, with 50% active every day. No one else has the same reach on Mobile. 1 in 8 mobile phones in the world is accessing Facebook in some fashion at some point during the month. This is even more impressive when you consider the lack of reliable mobile data connectivity in much of the world. These are not all smart phones either, lots are simple feature phones.
- The world will not end in 2012.
If the Mayans could predict the end of the world, how come they couldn’t predict the end of their own civilization? So if you truly believe the world is going to end, please put me in your will. I will happily spend your money after you’ve commited suicide or scared yourself to death in December.
So what do you think will happen in 2012?