Well, we erred in our 2011 predictions in not repeating a 2010 forecast that Carol Bartz would be ousted as Yahoo CEO -- it was bound to happen, we just called that one too early. Then again, we also predicted last year that Oracle would buy Salesforce.com and have decided not to repeat ourselves this year, so we'll see if we were just ahead on that one, too. Meanwhile, these are our predictions for the next 12 months:
HP gets its groove back
Meg Whitman will be the needed tonic at Hewlett-Packard, which will regain its focus and footing over the course of 2012, showing steady, if slow, improvement. And, contrary to popular sentiment, webOS won't die, but will find support in the open-source community of code writers and tinkerers.
Cyberattacks get scarier
2012 will be the year that a cyberattack really does hit a U.S. public utility hard, taking down an electric grid. Along those same lines, industrial control systems in Iran will be rocked with a sustained cyberattack that will make Stuxnet look like child's play in a year that increasingly will find that cyber-sabotage and cyberwar are realities that must be reckoned with.
Apple takes over
Other research firms will join Canalys in counting tablets in PC shipments, vaulting Apple into the top PC-maker spot globally in the third quarter, overtaking HP. iPad 3 will launch in April and with it will come lower prices on iPad 2 versions, with that inventory flying off of store shelves. After picking up market-share steam through midyear, iPad sales will level out through the second half of 2012, though no other tablet will emerge as a serious competitor to the iPad's lofty status.
Windows 8 won't give Microsoft momentum
Windows 8 will be released and will depend on sales of new PCs loaded with that OS to catch on. Users who don't intend to buy new PCs will still be slowly upgrading to Windows 7 and won't be inclined to jump ahead to 8 (though the trend of jumping to Macs will continue). As for tablets, Microsoft isn't going to catch fire in that market this late in the game because iPad users tend to be crazy in love with their tablets and Android has a robust fan base now, too.
AT&T's failed merger with T-Mobile USA will cost it a fat $4 billion break-up fee, with AT&T getting only a mere roaming agreement out of the proposed deal and no help at all for its spectrum crunch. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson's miscalculation in thinking he could get the deal past U.S. regulators will cost him his job.
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