Photo: Ollie Craaford via Flickr
Here are five predictions that will I expect to happen in 2011. Some of them could define an entire decade, not just a year.Here’s what I believe will be the top developments in no particular order:
Windows Phone 7 is struggling to find traction so Microsoft purchases Nokia, furthering its position as the world’s largest handset manufacturer
Microsoft sold 40,000 Windows Phone 7 devices in the United States on the first day of release, way behind the 200,000 Android and 260,000 iPhones, while Nokia, the world’s largest handset manufacturer, has seen its share price drop by 70% due to falling sales and the competition from smart phones and slicker operating systems. According to Gartner, in the 12 months leading to the third quarter, Microsoft’s share in the Smartphone market declined from 7.9 per cent to 2.9 per cent. By comparison, Google Android’s market share grew from 3.5 per cent to 25.5 per cent during the same period. Therefore in 2011 Microsoft will buy Nokia, providing a solid home for Windows Phone 7 and offer Nokia a replacement for its failing Symbian operating system while also giving operators a solution to the Android/Apple duopoly and Microsoft a stronghold in growing markets like India.
Skype goes public with lead up of major growth milestones, platforms and mobile video calling
Skype will add more revenue streams throughout 2011 including the monetization of video, more business-to-business opportunities and a mobile service that works not only with Wi-Fi and 3G but on all mobile devices even without any internet connection, by using local numbers for making international calls. Skype financials will improve considerably while, at the same time, the company will gain a greater control of costs. A number of players (read Facebook or Google) will look at purchasing Skype in the first half of the year, but ultimately it will execute a successful IPO well below the $5 billion rumour mill number, and instead closer to $2.5 billion.
Facebook launches calling service and kills Blackberry
Perfectly aligned with Facebook’s mission of becoming a platform that simplifies and facilitates communication with the people in our lives that matter the most, the social networking giant’s recent unveiling of IM-inspired Facebook Messages is likely to put the kibosh on BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), RIM’s own integrated IM feature.
In addition, to reciprocate the agreement with Skype, Facebook will launch a full-fledged VoIP-calling service integrated with Messages, providing users with the ability call, text and IM their family and friends over Wi-Fi and 3G without the need for a number. All under the same unified roof.
With Windows Phone 7 being first out the gate, Facebook will likely continue down the path of deep integration in mobile operating system address books. Concurrently, they will leverage their latest resource additions in lead engineers from Google to develop an operating system designed to compete head on with that of Google’s.
Video calling will arise as the main differentiator in tablet market position
Apple will unveil an iPad with a camera and expands Facetime. Cisco, Samsung and a slew of independent developers will build collaboration tools for video calling and conferencing. Skype will enhance their video calling with HD, better multi-party video calls with screensharing functions. As all major players attack the consumer and prosumer markets, look for video calling to play a big role in tablet marketing and consumer demand of specific devices over others.
Operators embrace VoIP services
In 2011 we will see operators fully embrace VoIP services. In 2010, Jajah was acquired by Telefonica, Google purchased GIPS, and Skype partnered with KDDI. In 2011 we will see more VoIP acquisitions and partnerships. Expect the majority of operators, while glancing at Google and Facebook, to launch services challenging the calling card market, the low-end carriers and Skype, based on VoIP and digital distribution models.
This post was contributed by Andreas Bernstorm, CEO of Rebtel, the world’s largest independent mobile VoIP company.
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