Companies position themselves for growth in 2015 and beyond
At the end of 2014, the future is looking brighter if you can ignore all the war, disease, and despair that’s going on around our little play land of technology. The technology companies have weighed in with their product strategies, and they’re confidently plotting courses of growth for new markets and new industries.
Forward-looking software companies are giddy over the promise of a huge base of mobile users who are taking their work with them via tablets and phones. Mobile has also opened up many more use cases for the cloud. For the most part, software vendors of professional software are coming around to the idea of cloud apps—of course, they’d like it a lot more if they could charge thousands of dollars for cloud apps just like they do for desktop applications. That model is still working itself out.
Hardware vendors are also looking at new markets. Mobile has been a tough nut to crack for the PC leaders, who have had to cede that territory to nimble, lightweight, and low-cost IP makers working with ARM like Imagination and Qualcomm. But it’s interesting to see how Intel is all in for wearables and the IoT. AMD is putting its bets on its latest line of APUs, and we’ll note that the company is challenged as it works its way through the inevitable shuffles that accompany a CEO shakeup … especially a surprise CEO shakeup. Nvidia is having its own challenges—they’ve not exactly been embraced in mobile, but this is a company that has made business plans out of schoolyard attitude and has made it work. In the case of mobile, Nvidia has crossed its arms and declared, I don’t want to be in your stupid ol’ devices anyway, I’ll be in bigger, better, shinier things, like cars. With a solid core of convinced gamers, a lead in workstation GPUs, and good defensive plays in higher-end PCs, Nvidia is making its own style of going mobile work—in the kind of mobile that drives around.
So, since we are talking about the end of the year, what about the end of the world? What if, while we’re lining up to buy new shiny things, we get swept up by a tsunami, swallowed up by an earthquake, starved by famine, stalked by disease, and murdered by terrorists? There is some hope to be found in the enthusiasm technology companies are showing for sustainable practices and systems-driven thinking. What’s really been kind of wonderful about the past few years is that companies are starting to see challenges like battery life, green architecture and manufacture, health and health care, as economic opportunities. It’s a start, anyway.