This year there's a variation on the usual year-end prediction story. We now have the "What Won't Survive 2009" story. A few days back I linked to an interesting one about companies that will fail. Here's one from Mike Elgan of ComputerWorld/ InfoWorld that's fairly provocative.
1. Free tech support The practice still employed by some companies of paying humans to answer phones and solve technical problems with hardware or software purchased for consumers will become a thing of the past.
2. Wi-Fi you have to pay for Everyone is going to share the cost of public Wi-Fi because the penny-pinching public will gravitate to places that offer "free" Wi-Fi.
3. Landline phones Digital phone bundles for homes will keep the landline idea alive for a while, but as millions of households drop their cable TV services and as consumers look to cut all needless costs, the trend toward dropping landline service in favor of cell phone service only will accelerate until it's totally mainstream, and only grandma still has a landline phone.
4. Movie rental stores
5. Web 2.0 companies without a business plan The era when Web-based companies could emerge and grow on venture capital, collecting eyeballs and members at a rapid clip and deferring the business plan until later are dead and gone. Yeah, I'm talking to you, Twitter.
6. Most companies in Silicon Valley Tech company failures and mergers will leave the industry with a low two-digit percentage (maybe 25 percent) of the total number of companies now in existence.
7. Palm Inc. Elevation Partners, which has among its principals U2 lead singer Bono, pumped a whopping $100 million into the failing Palm Inc. this week. The idea is to give the company time to release its forthcoming Nova operating system, which will take the cell phone world by storm and give Apple a run for its money. It would have been far more efficient, however, to just flush that money down the toilet.
8. Yahoo Yahoo is another company that can't seem to do anything right.
9. Half of all retail stores Many retail stores are obsolete and will be replaced by online competitors. Entire malls will become ghost towns.
10. Satellite radio I'm sorry, Howard Stern. It's over. The newly merged Sirius XM Radio simply cannot sustain its losses.
Some of these are undoubtedly correct. But all of them...?