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Has the Technology Bounceback Begun?

Gates, Gadgets, Googlemania: The Return of Technology Has Begun

2004 was the year that saw the iPod blaze its trail through the technology heaven, saw Google Inc. go public and double its share price from $100 to $200, and watched the fortune of RIM (of Blackberry fame) founder Mike Lazaridis's fortunes grow still further as wireless e-mail became more and more the rule and not the exception. But what of 2005? Has a wider technology bounceback begun? At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2005 last week, the answer seemed to be a resounding: "Yes!"

As everyone who has not been living in a cave for the past 29 years knows, Microsoft is 100% devoted to changing the world.

"Most people are still not in the digital realm," said Bill Gates in his opening keynote at CES. But it is far from being the only onion in the stew. The industry-wide 'return of technology' has begun.

Even Gates himself acknowledged we stand at the threshhold of the post-PC world:

"The PC has a central role to play, in that it's where it all comes together - e-mail, instant messaging; if you want to organize your memories in a rich way, if you want to edit photos, if you want to create papers. But, it won't be the only device."

So, just case anyone doubts that the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2005 that ended yesterday in Las Vegas marked a turning-point in the geek technology market, here is a round-up of some of the week's highlights reported on this site, featuring not only Microsoft, but also Samsung, Hitachi, HP, Sun and others.

  • From IT Solutions Guide:
  • Gates In Las Vegas: On IPTV, MTV, and All things Digital

    Yesterday at CES 2005 in Las Vegas Bill Gates, chairman and chief software architect at Microsoft, and Judy McGrath, CEO and chairman of MTV Networks, addressed conference attendees. Gates was talking at CES for the seventh successive year. (Continued...)

  • From Wireless Business & Technology:
  • Samsung Wows CES Attendees: Handset Features Galore

    Samsung introduced a number of feature-rich mobile phones at CES, which, if rolled out successfully, may close the technology gap between Korea and the US. (Continued...)

  • From International Storage & Security Journal:
  • 500 GB Hard Disk - World's Largest Ever - Being Launched By Hitachi in Q1

    Instead of the 40 hours or so of video storage offered by a standard 80 GB hard disk in a Tivo-type digital video recorder, Hitachi is going to help manufacturers offer consumers half a terabyte of storage. That's more than 500 billion bits of data. (Continued...)

  • From Web Services Journal:
  • Carly Fiorina: HP Will Take the Home Media Fight To Intel and Microsoft

    HP plans to offer a media hub that does not use a cable box. HP has also designed an electronic programming guide that lets consumers find and record content. A music database service will give consumers access to song titles, CD artwork, and other artist information. (Continued...)

  • From JDJ:
  • J2ME: Has Its Time Finally Arrived?

    Five years on, with notable successes such as the J2ME-enabled BlackBerry wireless handheld that has already made a billionaire of RIM founder Mike Lazaridis, developers finally now have a more consistent and capable platform to use for application development. Anyone wandering round this week's CES may be inclined to agree.

    More Stories By Jeremy Geelan

    Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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    Most Recent Comments
    Welcome2All 01/12/05 11:03:45 AM EST

    The bounceback can't come soon enough so far as I am concerned. Welcome, welcome, welcome. Long may it bounce! And far.

    Raymond Ho 01/12/05 04:57:39 AM EST

    "Microsoft sets to change the world" sounds grand but the world seems to be stuck with only one choice, namely, Windows. Is it right for the end-users to pay for successive operating systems which have been the pin-cushions for hackers, who share B.Gate's vision to change the world? Mr Gate should change the backdoor loopholes in his products first before changing the world.

    skyperFuture 01/11/05 03:17:54 PM EST

    ///what are some of the other characteristics of the "post-PC" world, aside from the ascendancy of Linux - anyone?///

    How about the ascendancy of Skype - that's a TEXTBOOK example of an application that "Beyond the PC" now that the Web-based calling service connects with your mobile phone.

    quezztion 01/11/05 02:51:51 PM EST

    what are some of the other characteristics of the "post-PC" world, aside from the ascendancy of Linux - anyone?

    Back the the Future 01/11/05 01:53:03 PM EST

    Both RIM and Google doubled their stock price in '04 that's true, but what about the flat performance of IBM (began at 90, ended at 95) and/or HP (begun at 25, ended at 21)...will they be "bouncing back" too or are they now history?

    Morgaine 01/11/05 07:50:29 AM EST

    Technology never went away, even if there was a reduction in investment and a slowdown in markets. The reason is very simple: civilization is now so deep into technological dependency that it is quite impossible for the first world to function without its modern accoutrements. That makes any apparent breaks or slowdowns in the march of technology merely temporary and largely illusory anyway --- engineers and scientists continue doing their thing regardless of investor indifference. In adverse economic conditions, their efforts come to life in products later rather than sooner, that's all.

    Technological progress has something equivalent to inertia, in that it resists any attempt to stop or even slow it down. In part this is because insight and innovation occurs more in the head than in the lab, and budget cutbacks never stopped anyone thinking. On top of that, science and technology is subject to positive feedback and exponential growth not just in scale but in number of dimensions as well, so it's no surprise that technology sees almost no slowdown regardless of the lack of helpful but non-critical investment.

    RIMM Has No Legs 01/10/05 02:49:09 PM EST

    It looks like every phone has or will have email built in. Which leaves RIM as a cell phone maker.

    PureCreditor 01/10/05 02:44:34 PM EST

    GOOG is fueled by hype, and a GMail system that is STILL in beta. Institutional investors would rarely put GOOG as part of their list of stocks, even though GOOG's initial share price is indeed targetting thouse. The iPod is not exactly the same because it's more of a portable music device such as a walkman or discman. The Blackberry is more an ugly cell phone but with hormone-enhanced SMS. Returning of technology? THAT should be judged by technology spending at the corporate level, not a couple consumer gadgets plus a overhyped stock.

    anon 01/10/05 02:02:58 PM EST

    I'm at the #1 company that provides precision A/C units for mainframes. In the mid 90's we made about 150 deluxe units a week. Sales climbed with the bubble over a period of years. We were making 550 units per week by the time the bubble burst. Sales dropped to a tenth of that when the bubble burst. The 'new' people on the shop floor have now been there for 7 years. We are now staffed for 150 again and waiting for the bounceback.

    edack 01/10/05 01:57:21 PM EST

    Rather than "must have gadgets", how about gaugeing a technology recovery by numbers of unemployed/underemployed technology workers?

    Return of Technology 01/10/05 01:30:07 PM EST

    Want to prove a "bounceback"? Then show us the jobs - new, US-based jobs please. THEN you'll have your bounceback.

    aendeuryu 01/10/05 10:18:59 AM EST

    When the tech industry is starting to offer better products for more reasonable prices, I call that a bounceback.

    By that standard, it's hard to say. The video card industry is looking really good right now, but so far there hasn't been all that much competition to IPod, so that just seems like an entrenchment of a single popular product (and experience suggests this leads to stagnation more than innovation). Plus, Google's stock doubling doesn't really seem to have all that much impact upon technology so much as the world of business. We get the benefits of their technology in their services, sure, but it's not like google is all of a sudden THAT much better than it's been for the past few years.

    Frankly, when it comes to technology, I'd say that software is having the resurgence, not hardware. Open Source solutions are as strong and available as ever, meaning that Microsoft has had to pick up the pace in terms of the innovations it provides (or claims to, anyhow). And how spoiled are we that we can look at a game like Doom3 and be bored?

    cheezemonhai 01/10/05 10:07:36 AM EST

    If there is such a bouncback where are the jobs.

    People want to pay a graduate wage to get a person with a good amount of experiance.

    Some jobs demand a MCSE for things that are not even related to the qualification.

    Others are just plain absurd. eg about 1.5 years ago I saw an add asking for CCNA, MCSE and 5+ years commercial experiance with .NET.

    (The salary was £17-22k per year and .NET hadn't even existed for 5 Years).

    If there is a revolution howabout some jobs.. go on please ;)

    peamasii 01/10/05 10:01:04 AM EST

    Not yet, although I hope they do soon. I'm sick of all the people with self-important attitudes and a blackberry on which they type all-important memos to god-knows-who.

    mgs1000 01/10/05 09:51:12 AM EST

    Didn't RIM just lose their lawsuit and are now prevented from selling any more Blackberry products in the U.S.?

    feeding frenzy 01/10/05 05:47:15 AM EST

    It isn't just Google that indicates an upturn: more than 60 IPOs hit the market in the last 3 months of 2004 and 66 companies listed their stock during the traditionally quiet summer months. And 2004 saw the resurgence of internet IPOs, including online deep-discount retailer eCOST.com, Interchange, and Merchex.

    Wall St rushed to capitalize on the momentum by bringing 20 companies publi in the week before Christmas alone.

    bifmac2002 01/10/05 05:42:10 AM EST

    from what I've read, NTP never built a commercial application with their patents, or tried to license them before suing RIM. In my opinion, NTP aren't in the business of manufacturing anything: they're in the business of suing or threatening to sue companies to take what others have built and earned.

    Have a read: this one's 99% opinion, but worth a look (www.kerton.com/papers/20030831.html)

    greatldymary 01/10/05 05:34:28 AM EST

    ///Mike Lazaridis's fortunes grow still further///

    It is appearing that RIM is guilty of infringment and looking like that was even deliberate. That's a pretty ugly behavior and something I don't think wallstreet has fully realized.

    Again, we will hear from the experts but my understanding is that the PTO re-exam is not because of any evidence of significant oversights but simply because the case is so important to the wireless industry that it by definition is recommended to be re-checked.

    gadget kid 01/10/05 05:00:18 AM EST

    Apart from the huuuuuuge-screen TVs, I saw: a digital camera that mixes music and photos, and systems that combine video games with exercise. I love this stuff!

    Tech Bounceback 01/10/05 04:56:30 AM EST

    Well USA Today certainly agrees with your choice of indicators: Blackbery, iPod, and Google all feature in the Top Five for 2oo5 according a recent - Dec 27 - edition (http://www.usatoday.com/money/2004-12-27-consumer_x.htm) - they even beat out JetBlue as the top consumers' picks.

    Caveat Emptor 01/10/05 04:34:31 AM EST

    Microsoft is chasing the consumer electronics market again but it's not really a consumer company. Windows Media Center isn't ready yet for the US consumer.

    Joe Wilcox 01/10/05 04:21:55 AM EST

    Companies already have reason to worry about lost or stolen laptop computers. Would any reasonable IT manager risk sensitive applications or data on a tiny USB dongle that could be easily lost?

    U3 01/10/05 04:15:11 AM EST

    I couldn't help npticing that Microsoft was conspicuously absent from the list of companies behind "U3 - the new USB standard announced at CES which enables users to carry, store and launch applications directly from a USB flash drive without installation. ICQ supports it, and an AOL spokesperson said U3 devices will be useful for consumers, suggesting that an ICQ-laden USB drive could be helpful while traveling to hotels that have a limited set of applications installed on public computers.

    Speare 01/10/05 04:10:16 AM EST

    I swear, Brookstone and Sharper Image share this business model: they make a huge grid chart with every geek gadget labeling each row, and every yuppie gadget labeling each column. They then produce a Taiwanese product that implements each intersecting grid. Mix most combinations of golfball-caddy, hammock-pole, grill-fork, lawn-lamp, wine-caddy with phone-minder, address-book,

    Totally Cool 01/10/05 03:52:26 AM EST

    Who cares about image-sharing apps when there was a pair of oakleys on offer with an in-built MP3 player? Now THAT's what *I* call the bounceback of technology? The glory of technical progress in a nutshell. Tech is back! ;-)

    Image Sharing App 01/10/05 03:40:13 AM EST

    I ran into a cool booth at CES, they're got this software that'll let you send pictures straight from your cellphone to your computer at home, and share those pictures from your home computer out to your friends without uploading them anywhere. Their name was Avvenu and they're going into beta pretty soon!

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