10 Technology Predictions From The Startup Whisperer


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a new business. That combined with free SaaS (Software as a Service) software and easily registering for a domain name—you’ve got the makings of a business. There are an estimated 27.2 million small businesses in the United States and they employ 40 percent of high-tech workers. New small business registrations will grow by one or two points in 2009.

5. The future is cloudy
2009 will be the year of cloud computing. The companies that benefit are: Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, EMC, Sun Microsystems, IBM, and Microsoft. In addition, SaaS takes off even more. With the worldwide economy in trouble, lots of layoffs, and pockets that are bare, SaaS will take off more than ever as measured by overall consumer adoption of the Internet business population.

4. Windows gets its mojo back
Windows 7 will ship on-time (not in 2009 for a service pack, but it will be solid enough to get their mojo back). Vista will feel like a bad hangover. Windows 7 will be faster, more usable, and introduce some cool virtualization features. Google will start to OEM an operating system to PC manufacturers, but Windows 7 and Microsoft’s business juggernaut will successfully relegate it to a minor initiative.

3. Microsoft buys Facebook
Facebook realizes that it needs a revenue stream. Microsoft needs a platform to grow search share. Facebook and Microsoft do a deal to change the search marketplace by integrating better social search. The valuation gets a major haircut from their $15 billion valuation (crazy 100x sales valuation). The deal gets done at big (crazy?) multiple at 20-25x or around $10 billion. Microsoft can buy 100 more little companies to try to grow search share or do a big deal. Plus, Microsoft shouldn’t let Google hook their FriendConnect initiative around such a large social hub like Facebook. They ditch buying the Yahoo search business and look to change the search game on the social side.

2. …And then they buy Yahoo’s search business
Deal is done in May of 2009.

1. The following Seattle-based companies will be acquired in 2009: BuddyTV, Visible Technologies, EvoLanding, and UrbanSpoon. M&A in 2009? Heck, it can happen, and these companies have gotten scale and have relatively low invested capital.

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Matt Hulett is Chief Revenue Officer for RealGames North America, a division of RealNetworks. Previously he was Chairman and CEO of Seattle-based Mpire. Follow @matt_hulett

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