Mergers in mobile
Before the Research In Motion co-CEO structure topples under the shakiness of the company, whose market share will continue to erode, RIM will be scooped up -- Dell may be one likely buyer -- and both James Balsillie and Mike Lazaridis will be shown the door. In competitor news, Sprint's recent boost in subscriber numbers won't be sustained because it can't continue to rely on pulling in users via government-subsidized programs for low-income people, and by the end of 2012, the company will also be on the auction block.
Join Larry's network
Although Larry Ellison hasn't made a splashy acquisition in a while and although buying RIM would be a slap at Google, we think that Oracle will buy an enterprise social-networking vendor to bolster the push it has made into that area. (Yammer or Jive, perhaps?)
Oracle and Google settle
Speaking of Oracle and Google, they'll settle their dispute over Java-related patent claims, with Google agreeing to license Java for an undisclosed amount.
Facebook makes a load of money, then faces reality
Once it goes public, and hits its rumored US$1 billion goal, Facebook leadership will increasingly be under pressure from investors and shareholders to keep pulling in big bucks. But its share price will come back down to Earth after briefly soaring. Privacy issues will continue to pester the site, as will the "improvements" that its development team rolls out in a seemingly endless and steady stream. The reality of running a public company will prove burdensome and by year's end there will be a management shakeup at Facebook.
The 2012 election
Barack Obama will win re-election over Republican nominee Mitt Romney, with low voter turnout among Republicans, many of whom never did -- and likely never will -- warm to the businessman and former Massachusetts governor. (Laugh if you will, but we called the 2008 election for Obama in December 2007, despite the ridicule that brought.) The balance of power will also shift in the House of Representatives back to the Democrats. Still, the current tide of legislation aimed at controlling the Internet and its content, as well as the push to require ISPs and others to maintain data, and turn it over to authorities when requested, will continue apace. As such, the U.S. will increasingly find itself at odds with the European Union, though other nations will begin to push back as well, regarding data retention and privacy issues. One side effect will be that U.S. businesses will increasingly find themselves hampered when it comes to winning government contracts in E.U. nations because of such legal concerns and they will take their complaints about that to Congress.
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