In other acquisition news, someone will come along by year's end (Yahoo maybe?) and buy AOL once and for all, successfully merging its content and technologies and quietly dropping the once-mighty brand off the face of the Internet.
And 2010 will be the year Palm is acquired -- our bets are on Microsoft or Research In Motion.
Google gets taken down a notch
Google will finally stretch itself too far beyond its search engine roots, irritating content providers, regulatory agencies, and users enough that Bing, even though it's also run by a monolith for whom love is not lost in many quarters, will keep making search inroads just because people want another option. The company that had as its mission to do no evil will increasingly be seen as devilish, leading top executives to spend more time than ever on image control, especially as it faces more lawsuits aimed at slowing its reach and power and its proclivity to challenge copyrights.
And so does Intel
The U.S. Department of Justice will file antitrust charges against Intel, with state attorneys general joining in while the U.S. Federal Trade Commission pursues its own action against the chip maker and the E.U. keeps up pressure there as well.
Google will release its own Android phone in an increasingly competitive market. By the end of 2010, more enterprises will embrace iPhone use, although RIM's BlackBerry will still be the platform of choice for companies that have to be more concerned about security issues.
But because "for most mere mortals, you can manage an iPhone reasonably securely," to quote Mort Rosenthal, chairman and CEO of Enterprise Mobile, Apple will increasingly intrude on the enterprise, whether network administrators like that or not. "I think probably the biggest story for the foreseeable future is how enterprises will manage an increasingly diverse market, with a lot of platforms, that meets a threshold of security," says Rosenthal, whose company specializes in mobile-based messaging implementation and business applications use in the enterprise.
"From a user perspective, this is all good, but from an IT perspective this is challenging," he says, predicting -- and we agree -- that 2010 will bring many of those challenges to a head for IT managers.
Oh, and one more prognostication in the mobile realm -- the launch of Windows Mobile 7 will be pushed back to the first quarter of 2011.
And speaking of security
There will be a new "largest ever" data breach involving e-tailers and a major payment processing company.
E-readers will give hackers an inviting new target, especially as the devices are opened up to third-party application development.
Meanwhile, we think that Websense Security Labs is making a sound prediction that "2010 will prove once and for all that Macs are not immune to exploits."
We also find ourselves intrigued by the Websense view that botnet gangs will engage in "turf wars."
"In addition, we anticipate more aggressive behavior between different botnet groups including bots with the ability to detect and actively uninstall competitor bots," Websense said.
Social networking grows up
This assessment from Foote Partners rings true for us: "Social media may have started out as a fad but it is quickly winning serious corporate converts. The search will intensify in 2010 for IT specialists who can engage audiences in their company's messages, products and services."
We also envision that companies will more actively encourage employees to use Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace in those regards, and to focus on the collaborative aspects of social-networking sites. This will, of course, continue to present a security conundrum, but 2010 will be the year that best practices for use of those Internet-based sites take hold.