Predicting the future is hard, especially when it comes to the lighting-fast world of tech. But that doesn't mean tech writers shouldn't be held accountable when thier predictions end up being flat-out wrong. Below were five of the more prominent calls that didn't materialize in 2013:
1) BlackBerry Will Rebound
While TIME’s annual tech predictions list was pretty on the money (especially their calls for 7-inch tablets to become a dominating product line) they were way off in one key area this year: how smartphone maker BlackBerry née Research in Motion (BBRY) would fare.
Ben Bajarin’s first prediction – that BlackBerry would be acquired in 2013 – almost came true, with a “provisionally accepted” deal with Fairfax Holdings falling through in November. What Bajarin was sorely wrong about was the company’s chances for turnaround. The Z10 phone launch was an unmitigated disaster, and instead of rebounding at all this year, the former king of the smartphone market shed 48.12 percent of its value.
Barring an eleventh-hour miracle, BlackBerry will continue its downward trajectory. At its current pace, the company will be completely out of cash by fall of 2014, and be forced to liquidate.
2) Wearable Tech Will Be So Fetch
While Google (GOOG) Glass going into beta certainly made headlines this year, the long-assumed transition to wearable tech has so far, completely failed to happen, and 2013 certainly was not, as Forbes opined, The Year of Wearables.
Samsung has notably made a play into wearable tech, and Google has the clout to push Google Glass down the road. But visions to a society adorned with wearable tech certainly did not materialize in 2013, and in fact may never.
3) Apple’s Stock Will Hit its All-Time High
The relationship between Apple’s stock price and their profit-to-earnings ratio of 14 has long confounded traditionally-minded investors. After all, how can a company that makes such ungodly amounts of money fail to advance in the market? This was the thinking of Forbes contributor Mark Ragowsky, who predicted the tech behemoth would top $800 share on a stellar 2013.
In fact, for most of the year, Apple was actually down, done in by that great enemy of fundamentals: perception. Apple continues to be dogged not by their cash flow but their perceived lack of innovation. A recent uptick, spurred by exceptionally strong iPhone sales, have pushed Apple back into the black this year – as of Dec. 16 Apple shows right over a one percent gain on the year.
But any predictions that this year would see Apple touch its all time high of $702 a share, let alone top it significantly, were way off base, as the company currently sits at $554.
4) Facebook’s Reign is Nearing its End
After Facebook’s disastrous IPO, it became pretty fashionable to predict the end of the social media giant. After all, what had Friendster and Myspace taught us if not that no company can rule social media for more than three or four years? The Daily Beast assumed as much when they listed the probability of Facebook hitting the skids at “high.”
The reasons they provided were that encroachment on privacy would reach such a level that “millions” would abandon the site, and raise serious questions about CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s future at the company. They were right about one thing: Facebook is certainly amping up intrusions into privacy, especially when it comes to targeting ads based on culled personal information. However, while users may pay lip service to the idea of leaving Facebook because of privacy concerns they have so far failed to follow through on that promise: while growth is slowing, it has not been nearly as drastic as predicted, while the targeted ads have caused Facebook’s revenue per user to shoot up significantly.
No one is calling for Zuckerberg’s head, especially not investors, who have been rewarded handsomely in 2013. As the year nears its end, Facebook has almost doubled in price, gaining 90.43 percent to hit $53.81 a share.
5) Zynga is Doomed and Should Sell the Farm(ville)
At the end of 2012, social media gaming company Zynga Inc. (ZNGA) was a pariah of the tech world: its relationship with Facebook had soured; it had failed to produce another hit on par with its flagship Farmville, and competitors like King looked to completely overtake the mobile gaming market. Things looked so dire for the mismanaged Zynga that MSN Money all but declared them dead, predicting that the only recourse for the company was to sell out.
Inexplicably, Zynga has been anything but a dog this year, notching over 71.97 percent gain on the year. How exactly? While a foray into online gambling did not pan out, Zynga still has a giant cash hoard: nearly $1.6 billion. While the company is shrinking, and readjusting to a change in leadership, the lack of debt and cash on hand has buoyed investor confidence that the company has the resources to weather a tough period and once again become profitable.
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