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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

December 6, 2006 at 11:45 AM

MSFT shares to reach $55, GOOG $650?

Those were the most optimistic estimates by a group of techies who made 2007 predictions during a WSA dinner event Tuesday night.

Five of the six panelists expect Microsoft shares to rise 10 percent or more, reaching $35 to $37. The sixth, Sun Microsystems principal engineer Fulup Ar Soll, said he has “no idea” where the stock will go next year.

Soll was also the skeptic about Google, which he said is valued at much more than it would cost to rebuild the company. “I don’t think it’s logical,” he said.

Ray Wang, a Forrester Research analyst who predicted Microsoft will hit $55, expects Google to reach $550.

Local futurist Glenn Hiemstra predicts Google will reach $650. Accenture consultant Robin Murdoch said it will go “well over $600, maybe even $650” by the end of 2007.

IBM Linux architect Gerrit Huizenga said $620 to $650 because “the growth to me is obviously there.”

Even former Microsoft strategist T.A. McCann expects Google to hit $620. “They’ll just continue to take share of advertising dollars that come online, and more are coming online,” he said.

There was a consensus that Microsoft’s not going to produce another operating system like Vista, but they had different takes. Huizenga said another five-year deployment won’t work, and pointed to open source projects like Apache, Linux and Eclipse where people get features they want faster. “We have to be able to deliver it on a frequent and regular schedule in terms of advancements,” he said.

Wang predicted a shift to a more distributed development approach, similar to the way Boeing dispersed 787 development. “People are going to build these things off social networking sites, code’s going to be created, shared,” he said.

What’s overhyped and likely to decline in 2007?

Wang: Software as a service. It will morph, so you’ll see software delivered as a service, but you won’t hear as much about SAAS.

Hiemstra and Huizenga: Blogs and other user generated content. “The vast majority of people will get worn out … and say I can’t keep up, I can’t do that anymore,” Hiemstra said.

Foll: Proprietary technologies, including Skype and Microsoft’s Word format.

Murdoch: Wireless streaming of TV to cellphones.

McCann: AOL.

Comments | Topics: Enterprise, Entrepreneurs, Google

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