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Summary:

As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, we are on the cusp of a massive change in technology that will involve a new, more dynamic two-way experience with the web. Here are five companies that will be making headlines in 2010.

As the first decade of the 21st century draws to a close, we are on the cusp of another massive change in technology, one that will involve a new, more dynamic two-way experience with the web. However, instead of making specific predictions as to which technologies will win (or lose) in 2010, I am instead going to focus on five companies that I believe will be making headlines in the coming year (the same ones I ticked off during a panel discussion last week at Media Predicts 2010, an event hosted by PRSA-Silicon Valley in Mountain View, Calif.): Apple, Amazon, Comcast, Twitter and Facebook.

Apple: Whether it was Steve Jobs’ health, booming iPhone sales, its $33 billion cash hoard, criticism of its App Store policies or its new iMacs, Apple kept itself in the news for most of 2009. The next 12 months are going to be no different, especially with speculation over a rumored Tablet expected to reach a fever pitch. Newer iPhones, cooler iPods and perhaps even a new Apple TV — who knows what the Cupertino Dream Factory will release. One thing is for sure: Apple’s gravy train is going to roll on.

Amazon: The media industry is going through some serious convulsions, and certain camps see its future in emerging e-reader devices. That alone will keep Amazon and its fast-selling Kindle e-reader in the news throughout 2010. And as the company adds Kindle functionality to mobile phones and emerging connected devices such as Apple’s rumored Tablet (it’s impossible to overstate Amazon’s one-click buying capabilities), most of the other e-readers, I feel confident in predicting, are going to meet their maker. Meanwhile, Amazon is going to cause further disruption in the computer infrastructure industry as it keeps pushing its web services and cloud computing vision. And while it will see competition from Microsoft’s Azure, the company will continue to win, thanks to a groundswell of support from a new generation of entrepreneurs, developers and startups. The federal government and large businesses are taking Amazon’s on-demand computing offerings seriously as well.

Comcast: A day after I made my predictions at the PRSA-Silicon Valley event, Comcast announced a $37.25 billion deal with General Electric that will marry NBCU and its content machine to the cable operator’s offerings. Paul Sweeting, an analyst with GigaOM Pro, in a research note (sub. req’d) that breaks down the deal and its impact argues that Comcast’s quest to become an entertainment behemoth is going to earn the deal very close scrutiny in Washington. But that’s nothing compared to the attention the company’s going to increasingly receive thanks to its stance on metered broadband and network neutrality.

Twitter: 2009 was practically flawless for Ev Williams & Co.! The San Francisco-based company became the media darling (for proof, look no further than Oprah), which in turn helped grow the micromessaging service’s user base to over 50 million subscribers, which in turn allowed the company to raise nearly $155 million to be valued at $1 billion. So where does it go from here? That’s the big question for Twitter in 2010. The management team — which now includes Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo, founder of Feedburner — will need to find new users, a revenue model and at the same time stave off its archrival, Facebook. Whether Twitter gets stronger or starts to swoon, it’s going to be one helluva story in 2010.

Facebook: Like an aging slugger, the Silicon Valley ecosystem desperately needs a cortisone injection to alleviate its pains, which the Palo Alto-based social network giant is going to provide when it files for an initial public offering. In 2010, the fast-growing social network is going to cross the 500 million subscribers-mark and showcase a new advertising system, which is only going to boost its revenues and profits, thus making it the hottest IPO since Google. Just as Google pulled Silicon Valley out of its post-dot-com doldrums, by sending a successful poke to Wall Street, Facebook will open the floodgates for dozens of startups that have more than $100 million in revenues, are profitable and are desperate to go public. And that means more venture dollars will flow to startups, thus leading Silicon Valley to another up cycle.

Image courtesy of Laughlin via Flickr.

  1. These predictions seem remarkably “safe”, if you ask me.

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    1. The predictions are “safe” in saying that these five companies will be making some serious headlines and thus be influential in 2010. I guess, think these companies can go in either direction – up or down.

      For instance, if Comcast blows the NBC deal then they are in trouble. otherwise you very well know what will happen.

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  2. [...] Developers Not Happy With Android See All Articles » Predictions: The Fabulous 5 [...]

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  3. Hi Om:
    Thanks for the list. Twitter definitely needs to find a way to generate revenue in 2010. Considering your strong expertise in Telco/VoIP arena, I was expecting some predictions on the Telco/VoIP Side.
    Some thoughts:
    North American Operators will launch LTE/IMS/WIMAX successfully by 2010, Mobile VoIP goes mainstream, Skype launching its new telephony platform, Sprint calls it quits :-), Google will buy jajah for Google VoIP phone, Cloud telephony- make or break in 2010 etc

    Cheers,
    Ravi

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  4. What about Google and any of its new product launches…..???

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    1. Ehmmm. What about it?

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      1. many..including Google Phone…wasn’t the rumor hot some days back…??

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  5. [...] GigaOm picks Amazon as one of his Fabulous 5 companies for 2010 and predicts that the Kindle will kill most of the other eReaders. [...]

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  6. No infrastructure calls, Om? Do you think the telecoms are investing enough on their backend mobile infrastructure as phones become computers and calls become transactions?

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    1. No infrastructure calls — 2010 is going to be like 2009 — modest growth in the telecom arena, despite huge demand for broadband and mobile. I think you will be surprised how muted 2010 is going to be. More to follow later!

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  7. What about app makers overall? GetJar CEO Ilja Laurs thinks apps will be bigger than the internet in 10 years– and all signs seem to say that could be the truth. Also, love that you are using a Burning Man photo to illustrate your predictions. Hopefully that doesn’t mean anything:)

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  8. What, no placeholder for an unknown? To me that seems like the safest bet of all ;)

    Seriously though, a couple of these, and Twitter in particular, have nowhere to go but down, especially from a buzz perspective.

    I’m also a little surprised that Google’s not in the list when they’re releasing truly innovative stuff like Wave. Comcast instead? Really?

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  9. Thankfully I read these prognostications on my Tempurpedic b/c this post put me to sleep!

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  10. Interesting and thoughtful predictions.

    You mentioned cloud computing as part of Amazon.com’s success, which I would agree with. However, I think the impact of Google and Microsoft in this market is going to be significantly greater than suggested.

    In the consumer space, Google Apps, Microsoft’s Office Web Apps, Chrome OS, Android, Windows Mobile 7, and the Microsoft Courier (Microsoft’s Booklet PC) will be huge market players that might actually eclipse the consumer products that Amazon.com will offer. Even if not, they will at least rival Amazon’s services.

    In the enterprise space, Amazon’s web service will face fierce competition from the Google App Engine and Microsoft’s Windows Azure Platform (http://bit.ly/2b2sRd). Basing the future on current trends in this area is problematic since Windows Azure is still in CTP preview and will not be fully released until early 2010.

    Of course the only way to know for sure is to wait another 12 months and see.

    (I am contracted by M80, working with Microsoft to promote Windows Azure)

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