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The worst tech predictions of 2013 -- and two that hit the mark

Bill Snyder | Jan. 2, 2014
From the social network in business to the 'success' of the Chromebook to the launch of iTV, the pundits got it wrong, wrong, wrong

According to Gartner, AWS is the overwhelming market leader, with more than five times the compute capacity in use than the combined total of its 14 nearest competitors. Empowered by the ethic of BYOD, departmental-level employees began bringing Amazon into large businesses. What's more, it has developed a very large and robust ecosystem, which is how market leaders remain market leaders.

Says Gartner: "Many software vendors have specially licensed and packaged their software to run on EC2, either independently or via the AWS Marketplace, which eases deployment and eliminates some of the challenges associated with licensing software to run in the cloud. Its API is supported by many third parties that provide associate management tools, and many open-source and commercial CMPs are compatible with its API." Top that, Rackspace.

The biggest miss of all: The NSA and our privacy
You would think that someone, somewhere in tech pundit land would have a source at Google or Microsoft or AT&T or Verizon or anywhere, for heaven's sake, that would have tipped us off to the NSA's hoovering up of our private communications. But no. It took the defection of Edward Snowden to let some really ugly cats out of the bag. If he hadn't we still wouldn't know. The tech press (along with its counterparts in the mainstream press) failed utterly to pick this one up and give the public the information it deserves.

Two predictions that hit the mark

NoSQL will soar
Oracle honcho Larry Ellison devoted lots of attention (not to mention money) to the America's Cup extravaganza this year. But while his team launched a breathtaking come-from-behind victory, NoSQL and Hadoop found fair winds and, as many had predicted, have become stronger challengers to the relational database establishment.

Back in October, MongoDB, provider of the MongoDB NoSQL database and formerly known as 10gen, landed $150 million in new financing, the largest round ever for a database company. The deal values the New York-based startup at $1.2 billion and is indicative of how seriously the investment community views MongoDB, Hadoop, and other players in the world of big data.

MongoDB was hardly the only next-gen database company attracting attention. Cloudera, closely associated with Hadoop, scooped up $65 million in venture funding earlier this month. The infusion brings Cloudera's total capital raised to about $140 million, and according to sources who spoke with AllThingsD, this deal values Cloudera at about $700 million.

Money aside, the real issue is what technology is best suited to handle new, largely unstructured, types of data, and will the relational data base become flexible enough to meet the challenge. 

Bye-bye Ballmer
Although we at InfoWorld would never stoop to brag — well, not much anyway — we deserve a little credit for predicting the end of the Steve Ballmer era at Microsoft. In late November of last year, yours truly wrote: "I'm going to stick my neck out and make another (prediction): If Windows 8 and the Surface tablet flop, you'll see a shareholder revolt that will send Steve Ballmer packing by this time next year."


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