Predictions for the Technology Industry in 2011

Forget what all the other folks are telling you. Here's what's really going to happen in the technology industry in 2011:

-- In January, Facebook will announce the death of the telephone in the era of social networking. "Why would anyone need a telephone when they can simply update their facebook status?" asked Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, pointing out that he is now worth more than any phone company in the world.

-- In February, after describing cloud computing as "water vapor" in 2009 and then announcing a hardware-inclusive "cloud-in-a-box" offering in 2010, Larry Ellison will announce Oracle's latest vision, Orbital Cloud (TM). "If you're going to outsource your IT," he'll tell a crowd of skeptical journalists, "you might as well get it off the planet, where it's safe from earthquakes, hurricanes, and open source advocates. When people talk about cloud computing, they really mean clouds of diffuse interplanetary gases." LISP programmers worldwide launch a protest movement under the slogan, "In space no one can hack in Scheme."

-- In March, in further pursuit of the perfect user interface, Apple will announce that it is disabling all iPhone apps not personally approved by Steve Jobs. "We expect our users to be grateful," said an Apple spokesman, "for our protecting them against accidentally seeing anything ugly, ever."

-- In April, Apple will admit that they can no longer produce the more-beautiful iPhones fast enough to ship them to the US, because they're all being purchased in Asia for well over list price. To address this shortage, Apple will double the list price globally. Consumers will promptly queue overnight at Apple stores in hope of paying the new higher prices.

-- In May, Facebook will introduce its own "revolutionary" IP-based telephony service. "In the future," says Mark Zuckerberg, "any two people in the world will be able to speak to each other, via audio, in real time, as long as they have Facebook accounts. This changes everything."

-- In June, after years of struggle to live up to the corporate slogan, "Don't Be Evil," CEO Eric Schmidt will snap during negotiations with the Chinese government and begin screaming political slogans at Chinese President Hu Jintao. The YouTube publication of an unfortunate video clip of this incident -- which, to add insult to injury, was taken with an iphone -- will result in Google's banishment from China, "until more mature leadership is established."

-- In July, Google will announce that Schmidt is taking an indefinite "medical leave" and that it has arranged for former lobbyist Jack Abramoff to be released from prison to serve as interim CEO. In his first press conference, Abramoff will say that in the future Google will be more sensitive to cultural differences, noting that one culture's "free speech" is another's "treason." China will promptly reopen its doors to Google, welcoming its "return to ethical behavior."

-- In August, Apple will wow everyone yet again with the introduction of the new "Apple iRose," red-tinted digital glasses that both correct your vision and make everything and everyone look more beautiful. By the end of the month, Apple's market capitalization will exceed the rest of the NASDAQ combined.

-- In September, the Obama administration will announce the seventh version of its final decision about net neutrality. This policy will say that Internet traffic carriers must provide non-discriminatory access over wired lines, but may discriminate in access to wireless traffic, unless the content of the traffic is a discussion of whether or not there should be any difference between wired and wireless traffic, in which case they can only discriminate over wired lines. Exceptions will be made for public interest organizations, heavy political donors, and certain phases of the moon. Republicans announce that they intend to oppose the policy vigorously, just as soon as they can figure out what it says.

-- In October, Larry Ellison will announce the cancellation of the Orbital Cloud program due to poor server performance, and will fire dozens of incompetent engineers for limiting transmission speeds to 186,000 miles per second. Claiming that the term 'cloud computing' was a typographical error all along, Ellison will introduce a new line of high-decibel servers he says will "fulfill the long-awaited vision of Loud Computing."

-- In November, Apple will introduce the revolutionary new Apple iWeight, a perfectly smooth white plastic sphere with a flat bottom and a weight ideally calibrated to hold papers down. "Our research tells us that customers want beautiful things," says Steve Jobs, "and that they don't really care what they do, or if they do anything at all." Violence breaks out in front of those Apple stores that don't have enough room for long lines to queue. Apple's market capitalization surpasses the gross domestic product of the European Union. Jobs offers to pay off the US national debt if the government will replace all its Windows machines with Macs. As the Obama administration considers this offer, the Republican leadership announces that whatever the administration decides, it will oppose it.

-- In December, Larry Ellison, saying "we've finally got it right this time," will drop broad hints about the still-secret upcoming Oracle Clown Computing system. Puzzled observers given a sneak peak will be unable to identify any differences from traditional Oracle offerings.

-- And finally, by January 2012, no one will remember a single one of the many predictions made a year earlier of what would happen in the technology industry in 2011.

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