1. Everything that’s old will be new again. Last year brought us the return of 3D from the 1950s, cloud (a.k.a. the new and improved mainframe), thin client (the dumb terminals for said mainframe), and iPad, the new and improved tablet PC. This year will bring us another batch of rebranded, repackaged technology sold as revolutionary. Which is ok because none of us are ready for true innovation (see #10)
2. Markets will stay irrational longer than companies stay solvent. For example, data center companies will continue to take losses, go out of business, or get acquired on unfavorable terms even as all indications point to extreme shortages in data center space by 2013.
3. A large firm will overpay to jump on a bandwagon that has long left reality. For example, a cloud computing company with no hope of success will get acquired for silly dot-com economics money by a provider with more money than R&D success. The new division will be trumpeted as the key to the company’s future through most of 2011, with division heads appearing in every press release and photo op. It will lose separate branding by beginning of 2012, its management will depart shortly thereafter, and all operations will be dissolved by 2013. Everyone who furiously cheered on the acquisition in 2011 will say it was obvious in hindsight.
4. Someone will found another content delivery company citing the explosion of online video, with bonus points for becoming a specialist in 3D video streaming or some other hyped innovation affecting <1% of the market. This company will fail without garnering much notice.
5. More and more routine peering disputes will be recast as net neutrality debates. The word “peering” will not actually be mentioned or explained anywhere in mainstream press. Genuine net neutrality infractions will get lost in the din of network and content providers crying “wolf.”