I am not going to be discussing M&A in this post. Those were big stories but I written enough on the mergers.
One big story was Google Fiber laying off and the CEO quitting. I tend to agree with Beranek on this: Google didn't want to be a network operator. They just wanted to scare the Duopoly into building out broadband networks, so that Google could get more page views a la YouTube.
People don't understand how much obstruction the Duopoly has in telecom. From lobbying to lawsuits, the phone and cable companies hate competition. They do everything they can NOT to compete. So given an upstart - Google Fiber or Covad or a muni network proposal - they go to town throwing up hurdles to success. Big is Bad for Consumers. Period.
The Election: Not getting political but it looks like Net Neutrality will be rolled back. Soon the 4 cellcos will make it look like 1996 again when it was Prodigy, AOL, CompuServe and DELPHI. Walled gardens are coming back. This will make it harder for any new entrants to get a foothold.
Devices: It was the year of device panic from Samsung's blowing up to Apple eliminating the earphone jack. Add in the mix, the hacking of the IOT devices used for DDoS attacks against Krebs and DYN. It was 100K hacked cameras and DVRs that took down the Internet in October. It is only going to get worse. For a society obsessed with guns, why don't we protect our information and devices? The Info War is going to set you back.
BTW, did you see that Quest Diagnostics was hacked? 34,000 accounts. Would you want your medical history online?
It was the year of hacks. Just ask the DNC.
Hacks and outages all year.
A lot of noise about Fake News (true), self-driving cars (almost) and SD-WAN (soon).
It was the Year of Uber. Of all the ride sharing apps including Lyft, Uber seemed to dominate. Close to 25 ride sharing apps have been funded to date, but it is Uber that leads the race, despite famous battles with cities around the globe.
VR got bigger (just as Scoble!) But like Augmented Reality, other than entertainment and early adopters I have no idea who is paying attention.
IOT was big. Everyone is still trying to figure it out. Or more precisely figure out how to monetize it for themselves.
Speaking of which, IAAS has blown up with one clear winner, AWS. At $13 Billion in revenue, it is all of the profit that Amazon shows. Rackspace, a rival, went private this year when a private equity firm acquired them for $4.3B. Like Dell, going private allows them time to pivot without the stock market beating them up. And speaking of Dell and pivots, what a year they had buying and selling. If the smoke ever settles in Austin, it will be an interesting story.
Artificial Intelligence is something I tend to think of as analytics and data mining. (We went from Big Data to AI.) From Siri to Alexa to IBM Watson, AI is entrenching in our world. A doctor friend uses Dragon Speak Medical Edition to transcribe his notes into the EHR system. That's the kind of tech we need.
Microsoft added its Skype real time translation service to cell phones and landline. In a global economy, this will be a game changer. And this is on top of Skype4B crashing past 50 million seats.
What else did we see a lot of? UC&C or UCaaS. So much of it. But when you have 2000+ companies plus thousands of resellers trying to gain some ground, the noise level will go up. Most of that noise is pure hype, spin and hullabaloo. More on that in another post.
Is there anything I missed? Is there something you are watching? Let me know.