Technology predictions: Cheaper smartphones, Microsoft changes culture

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJanuary 17, 2014 

Microsoft Shareholders Meeting

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer holds up apersonal tablet device as he speaks at the company's annual shareholders meeting Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, in Bellevue. With the pending retirement of Ballmer, Microsoft may be poised for a dramatic makeover - for the better, according to Mark Anderson of Strategic News Service, who presented his annual technology predictions Friday, Jan. 17, 2014 at Whatcom Community College.

ELAINE THOMPSON — AP

BELLINGHAM - The coming year will be a crucial one for the technology industry as a generational shift takes place among many of the biggest companies.

That's one of many takeaways from Mark Anderson in his annual technology predictions presentation, held Friday, Jan. 17, at Whatcom Community College. The event was organized by the Northwest Technology Alliance Group.

Anderson, who operates Strategic News Service and is known for his predictions, noted in his presentation that several of the biggest technology companies are in the process of changing CEOs. Perhaps the one making the most headlines in this region is Microsoft, which is looking for a replacement for a retiring Steve Ballmer.

In one of his 10 predictions for 2014, Anderson said this change will create a Microsoft no one expects. He predicts the new CEO will lead to a change in the power structure that encourages cooperation, instead of its tradition of having warring factions. This will lead to improved success in consumer markets and help the company get its "mojo" back, he said.

A few other Anderson predictions for this year:

-- Lower prices become a critical driver in consumer electronics. He expects to see the arrival of the sub- $100 smartphones and sub- $250 tablets to dominate.

-- Personal health monitoring goes mainstream. The idea of knowing more about your health and characteristics will go from being a jogger's delight to a mainstream market. Doctors will have to catch up to this change, he said.

-- Encryption increases. The fallout from the Edward Snowden government file leaks will be a massive move by large technology companies to put in better encryption technology. The real benefit may be improved protection of commercial intellectual property, which is becoming a major concern as other countries continue to steal it.

To see the full list of Anderson's predictions, visit the Strategic News Service website, stratnews.com.

Reach Business Editor Dave Gallagher at 360-715-2269 or dave.gallagher@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Business Blog at bellinghamherald.com/business-blog or get updates on Twitter at @bhamheraldbiz.

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