Scored well on the introduction of the Apple mini, which represents Apple’s entry into the lower end market. However, no video iPod this year, only a photo one, leaving Apple far, far, away from the movie downloading world.
On the computer end, Apple did not introduce a G5 portable. Wishful thinking on my part, true, and still a wish I hope to see fulfilled in 2005.
Convergence: Music Stores
As expected, Apple has solidified its relationship with AOL, offering the iTunes store under an AOL login. However, the store is not fully integrated within the AOL service.
As predicted, the world of online music is now divided into two camps: AAC and Windows Media. However, the surprising move was from Real Networks, which was the first company beyond Apple to adopt the AAC format.
Convergence: Voice Over IP
As predicted, voice over IP has had tremendous growth in 2004. AT&T’s exit from the consumer market can be seen as a move to reorganize around land-line offerings. Also of significance this year was the introduction of VoIP services from most of the big telco player.
Regulatory discussions are now exploding, with telcos pushing for deregulation as “a way to compete” against the new players in the field. At the same time, the same traditional companies are pushing for regulation of VoIP businesses.
Wireless: Wi-Fi phones
Dead wrong on that one. Maybe next year!
While WiFi continues to progress at high speed, the introduction of phone services using such service is limited.
Business: Revenge of the Internet companies
Google did its IPO as expected and that went very well. Other Internet companies also went public this year but one can hardly talk of coattail effect.
On the bright side for investors, my predictions about the decline in stock prices for the big players did not pan out. However, I still maintain that the stock prices of companies like Ebay, yahoo, and amazon are too high.
Business; Sun in Trouble
As expected, SUN continues to have trouble financially but I have to admit I was wrong in terms of what I expected them to do. They are still in the SPARC business and are still pushing Solaris as their main OS.
Development: Standards at the forefront
This one was an easy one. As sites like ESPN and Wired moved to new standard formats, more and more people and companies are getting interested in more standard compliant code. Not a headline grabber but definitely a strong move.
Society: Social Networks at the core
Wrong, wrong, wrong. Social networks were slowly moving but not really getting more important this year. Their integration with search could, however, yield great potentials.
Politics: Internet comes of age
The Internet did come of age in this election cycle but Howard Dean did not win the democratic candidacy. However he, and other groups, managed to use the Internet to mobilize millions of people. The Republicans, on the other side, used the power of conservative bloggers to attack candidates (for example, the Swiftboat veterans for truth) and then take on the establishment (Dan Rather and Memogate).
Coming Soon: My predictions for 2005!