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Beam Me Up Scotty Is Sooo PassÚ

How bold CITP accountants have long crossed over that path where no man has gone before.

May 26, 2009
by Sukanya Mitra

Live from New York … It’s the New York Accounting & Tech Show! Thanks to Rick Richardson’s prowess in enthralling an audience, last week’s show opened with a bang.

Both interactive and captivating, Richardson gave a recap of his previous year’s predictions. He was on the dollar on more than half (six out of 11 ain’t bad!). Here’s how he measured up:

  • In 2004, Richardson predicted:
    Storage devices become smaller and thinner and in 10 years, people would be able to store megabytes of data in a space the size of a quarter.
    Buffalo Technology created the MiniStation in 2008 that has a 500GB capacity with dimensions of 5’’ x 0.8” x 3.3”.    
  • In 2006, Richardson predicted:
    By 2010, 30 percent of U.S. homes would exclusively use cellular phones or connect via VoiP.
    According to a CBS News report out this month, one-fifth of the U.S. population use only cell phones.
  • In 2007, Richardson predicted:
    • Within five years, most appliances and computers would use less than 200 watts running off electricity provided by wireless networks.
    • Within three years, more than half the cell-phone users (worldwide) could be tracked by a global positioning system (GPS) and an Internet connection.
    • Within two years, digital cameras would come with an infrared beam capability that would allow users to share photographs instantly.
    • By 2011, 150 million homes would have high-definition (HD) television sets.
      According to Electronics Industry Market Research and Knowledge Network, the number of HDTV households (worldwide) is currently at 36 million and growing.

Trends

When you start reaching for a Kleenex instead of a facial tissue, you know — unwittingly — you’ve entered the world of branding. It’s no different when you casually tell your friends that you didn’t look up the topic on the Internet, but Googled it! While Richardson didn’t say so, I predict (with no decent time frame) that soon Merriam-Webster will have Google in their dictionary with the meaning: used to search for anything on the Internet!

Richardson was far more precise. He believes Google is emerging as the dominant company in the Internet era, much like Microsoft was in the PC era. He likened Google’s advances to a war strategy used in tribal times in Asia, in which while the enemy surrounded a few of their own and battled it out, the rest of the Asian warriors went to the enemy’s territory, battled and conquered. He says it’s the same with Google and Microsoft. Microsoft is trying to play catch up because Google has outwitted Microsoft. While users need to cough up major amounts of money to use Microsoft’s applications, you can use Google’s apps for free. “[Google] is doing it to spoil Microsoft’s gain,” he quipped. Latest statistics from comScore reveal that Google has raised its shares on Internet searches by 10 percent from 2008 (62%) to the current 72 percent; Yahoo trails the search-engine giant drastically and comes in at a mere 20 percent, with MSN and others coming in at nine percent each.

Newbie Google at age 10 is giving the aging 33-year-old Microsoft a run for its money. Richardson explained that Google has been enjoying a good advantage over Microsoft especially because users are not hindered by proprietary PC software programs that are incompatible with their rival’s technology. In today’s cyberspace, users are used to switching from one app to another seamlessly. “The experience effects of users and advertisers familiar with Google’s services make them less likely to switch,” Richardson noted. “A whole ecosystem [has] developed where companies tailor Web sites to get higher ranking on search engines — focusing their efforts on the market leader — Google.”

His prediction: “Browsers will act as [the] operating system and you will not need the operating system at all.”

With an eye on Apple, Richardson said that Macs continue to be a strong-selling computer niche and that Apple Inc. has grown tremendously with the most retail chain stores worldwide. It is the leading laptop computer, mainly because of Vista’s rising problems, noting, “50 percent of their 2008 sales were to U.S. users who never owned a Mac before.”  He said they would continue to grow, but was currently trying to “transform itself into a consumer electronics and media distributor juggernaut (retail — iPod and iTunes stores; iPhone and apps stores; Smartphone market).”

With regard to operating systems, Richardson announced the little-known — to many attendees — product called Ubuntu. He said it is the fastest-growing operating system from Linux with already 10 million users and costs a big fat zero! He noted that Google uses a modified version of it and Ubuntu is gaining U.S. business users as well.

Richardson strongly believes that “mobile” won’t mean laptop in the future but would relate to mobile Internet devices (MIDs) that will run on processors like Intel’s Atom and will support both Flash and JavaScript.

Peering Into the Crystal Ball

So what’s in store for us in the future? Here are Richardson’s predictions:

  • Within four years, mouse and keyboard will be replaced by touch-screen technologies;
  • MIDs (mobile Internet device) will grow 50 percent each year through 2012 to more than 500 devices;
  • Nokia’s share of Smartphone may drop to half its current market share by 2013;
  • By 2012, Blue Ray disc sales will reach $9 billion!

And there were more … but Richardson warned me he’d send Eliot Ness after me if I spilled all the beans! Oops!

So next time you think of heading to a psychic … fuhgettaboutit! Just head out to the conference circuit and look up Rick Richardson.

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Sukanya Mitra is Managing Editor of the Insider™ e-newsletter group.