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

November 18, 2009 at 6:41 PM

WTIA predictions for 2010: Twitter bashing, Google at $720, MSFT to $40

The Washington Technology Industry Association held its annual predictions dinner tonight at the Grand Hyatt in Seattle, with a group of tech entrepreneurs and investors sharing a few thoughts on what may happen in 2010.

Speakers include Greg Gottesman, managing director of Madrona Venture Group; Bill Bryant, venture partner at Draper Fisher Jurvetson; Redfin Chief Executive Glenn Kelman; Curious Office founding partner Kelly Smith and entrepreneur and investor Andy Sack. John Cook of the Puget Sound Business Journal’s tech blog moderated.

A few of their predictions:

How does Twitter make money?

Kelman: Charge for search. “In general, I think that Twitter is overvalued. I think people are paying too much attention to Twitter and not enough to Facebook.”

Sack: Twitter’s going to make more money than Facebook in 2010. “It is a promotional vehicle. … I think the potential to make more revenue dollars is with Twitter.”

Bryant: “Twitter’s not mainstream and the traffic numbers suggest it’s not going to be.”

Gottesman: “I’m not sure how much money they can make but my sense is there’s a lot of buyers out there who have a perception they could do a lot more than Twitter” than twitter itself as a relatively small startup.

Smith: “Twitter’s going to sell a bill of goods to a buyer with deep pockets … it’s going to be absorbed by a big company” and “go nowhere.”

Google’s stock price at the end of 2010?

Sack: $701.

Smith: $720. The Google phone “is going to go crazy.”

Gottesman: About where it is now (around $577).

Kelman: $650, driven by enterprise products.

Bryant: $500. “To me Google is still a one-trick pony.”

Where will Microsoft’s stock be at the end of 2010 and will Ballmer still be CEO then?

Sack: $31.75, Ballmer stays.

Kelman: $32, Ballmer stays.

Gottesman: About where it is today after a Windows 7 run-up. Ballmer stays.

Smith: $40. “Windows 7 is a giant step forward for them.”

Bryant: It will at least touch $40. Win7 Mobile, Azure and desktop factors.

Amazon.com is at around $130. Where will it be?

Sack: I think AMZN is a juggernaut. $155-160.

Kelman: I’d second that. I think it’s the most entrenched brand on the Internet.

Gottesman: Around where it is today – the market feels rich to me now.

Smith: Probably $150.

Bryant: $152, after buying Netflix, Blockbuster and Hulu.

Mergers and acquisitions happening around here in 2010?

Gottesman: Microsoft buys RIM, Cisco buys F5.

Sack: Picnik will get purchased by Adobe, Icanhascheezburger will be bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

Smith: Adobe adds analytics.

Bryant: Every mid-size technology company … will likely be acquired in the next few years.

When will Chinese companies start gobbling up U.S. technology companies?

Smith: I don’t think it’s going to be a factor in 2010.

Gottesman: I don’t know if it will be 2010 but in the next couple of years they’ll be a force to reckon with.

Bryant: Domestic markets are so robust in China you don’t have to look outside the borders for growth opportunities.

What is going to be the dominant cloud architecture in 2010 and going forward?

Gottesman: Next year, Amazon.

Kelman: I think Google’s going to deploy more resources than Amazon.

Smith: It’s going to be Google on price, Amazon on features and flexibility and Microsoft’s always going to be more interesting for people deploying on Windows infrastructure.

What sort of startup would you invest $2 million in during 2010?

Smith: I would start a fun, online site that basically is a music creation service in the cloud – pro-tools in the cloud for consumers.

Sack: Put it in Founders Co-op and invest in three or four – $2 million today is too much to start a company with. I like P.R. 2.0, lead-generation companies and healthcare.

Gottesman: Location-based entertainment – experiences you can have in the physical world but with your mobile phone.

Kelman: I’d start a newspaper. I think more people are reading more than ever before. In 10 years, 20 years, 50 years …. every community is going to need it’s own authoritative voice, people will pay for that authoritative voice.

Bryant: Augmented reality, combining that with location-based services.

What ideas would you shoot down?

New social networks, iPhone Apps, video management.

What new consumer platforms may emerge in 2010?

Gottesman: Google on mobile devices in 2010 could be huge.

Sack: Crowdsourcing will transform radio, TV and video.

Kelman: Someone sooner or later needs to challenge Microsoft’s living room franchise.

Smith: Games are too expensive – gravity is pulling the cost of the gaming experience to basically zero.

Will mobile web change so it’s a mobile web experience versus an app experience?

Sack: Let’s hope so.

Smith: It’s not going to happen anytime soon in terms of the process being easy. For the forseeable future you’re going to have to work hard to make stripped down duplicatory experiences for the mobile phone.

Kelman: Developers want to work on mobile apps. They’re going to do cool things and then the money’s going to follow.

What’s going to happen with power meter graphing services from Microsoft and Google?

Gottesman: I think there’s an opportunity there.

Sack: The price of oil has to go back up.

Kelman: I worry about green tech being emphasized more in Silicon Valley than Seattle. No one has really been interested in green tech here.

Gottesman: There is some cool stuff going on at the University of Washington.

Big, bold prediction for 2010?

Kelman: There’s an enormous amount of pressure from investors on startups to sell, not to build them.

Gottesman: It depends on who you’re talking to.

Smith: Venture capital market’s concept of “our business is built on big hits” will change to “our business is built on base hits.”

Gottesman: Stanford is going to the Rose Bowl.

Bryant: Cisco buys Dell.

Sack: Microsoft buys Twitter and New England will win the Super Bowl.

Comments | More in | Topics: Startups, VC, Web

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