Here we go:
Startups hit "Series A cliff"
Its cooler today to launch a startup than start a band these days. There is a tonnage of seed funded companies out there thanks to incubators and accelerators. A recent study from CB Insights projects that between 1,000 to 4,000 recently-funded companies wont be able to raise additional capital. Too much supply and not enough demand. This isn't a bad thing -- since their has been way too much investment in the consumer Internet space.
Apple continues to dominate
Apple will continue its aggressive product launch cycle which will see the Apple 5s, iPad mini 2, and the iPad 5. Apple iTV? Who knows when we'll see the Apple TV, but, it could have the potential to change the way we are entertained in our homes much like what Apple with the iPhone in 2007. My kids already assume that every screen should be a touch-screen with an integrated appstore.
Apple ships 150-200 million iPhones and 60-80 million iPads annually. I predict that Apple will continue to keep its current share on the smartphone and will remain the dominant tablet provider thanks to the iPad mini. IDC predicts that there will be a mini tablet surge with the overall tablet market growing to 42% to more than 170 million units in 2013. Mini tablets with screens smaller than 8 inches will account for as much as 60% of unit shipments, up significantly from 33% in 2012.
Apple will more than likely get the mini pricepoint to $199 to better combat Samsung and others. Regardless, the post-PC revolution is here. IDC now says 282 million tablets are now expected to be sold by 2016.
Big data market consolidation and M&A consolidation
Everyone likes to talk about Big Data. The thing about Big Data is that its not a once-size-fit-all solution. Companies really have to get religion around instrumenting their business around massively distributed data. For example, we made the decision years ago at GameHouse to wire up all of our games businesses (social, mobile, download) with a Hadoop-HIVE backend with our own in-house developed custom events. Because we've done a lot of the work in-house we have a perspective on what's happening in the marketplace. We get approached all-of-the-time from companies offering predictive analytics, A/B solutions, complete outsourced (e.g., Amazon Mangodb), etc. There are so many providers in the space that my guess is that we'll see consolidation in the form of M&A.
Hybrid cloud solutions take off
Large enterprises constantly think through the implications of private versus public cloud infrastructure The two key issues that the business has to consider is both data privacy as well as performance (e.g, outages and fail safes). Look to have more private cloud options available to enterprises that offer a hybrid solution. The platform-as-a-service trend is going to continue to be red-hot and companies will struggle with what aspect to own v. rent. There is going to be a bunch of commoditized peripheral applications that will allow organization to have a multi-tenant model. IDC is forecasting a tenfold increase in the number of industry-focused platform as a service (PaaS) offerings, which numbered fewer than 100 in 2012. An interesting Seattle-based company to look at is BlueBox which just received its first round of funding after many years in business.
Amazon gets more aggressive
There was a great post on TechCrunch recently focused on the premise that Amazon is not an e-commerce company, they are a Big Data company. Amazon's operation expertise keeps getting extended into new and adjacent markets because of their platform strength. For example, Amazon announced that they are getting into the advertising business in a big way. I predicted this back in early 2010. You can read this post here. Again, their scale and size of their profitable cloud infrastructure enables them to subsidize their retail business. Look for Amazon to have a subsidized sub $100 Kindle Fire in 2013.
Happy New Year! Here is to a fantastic 2013.