26. No Hard Feelings?: The Hewlett-Packard board and former HP CEO Mark Hurd will bump into each other while shopping at the local Wal-Mart. They strike up a cordial conversation. Heartfelt apologies and FaceBook IDs are exchanged. All is well. Until Hurd puts a Lenovo laptop in his shopping cart... and offers a knowing wink at the HP board.
25. Silent Treatment: CA Technologies will shut down Nimsoft CEO Gary Read's colorful, outspoken personal blog. In response, Read launches a Fake Gary blog that documents everything happening within the halls of a fictional Long Island-based software company.
24. Measure Everything: HTG Peer Groups will push beyond VARs and MSPs and launch a peer group for bloggers. Instead of comparing financials and profit margins, the bloggers measure how many channel rumors they publish each week. Runaway winner: The VAR Guy. And heck, most of the rumors turn out to be true.
23. Friends and Family: The iPhone will remain locked to AT&T's network. Verizon launches a secret investigation and discovers that 2,000 of Steve Jobs' closest relatives receive free friends and family AT&T calling perks for life. Even Fake Steve is in the network.
22. Reverse Engineered: Hackers at Stanford University will discover that Windows Vista was accidentally built atop Windows 3.x code. Microsoft will call the revelation an "undocumented feature" that promoted slim, nimble, efficient 16-bit code rather than bulky, bloated 32-bit and 64-bit code. And besides, have you tried Windows 7 yet?
21. Self Guilt: Microsoft will sue itself for violating the patents that Microsoft acquired from Novell. The judge rules in favor of the plaintiff and Microsoft promises not to violate Microsoft's intellectual property again.
20. And the Winner Is: After a secret trip to Harrisburg, Autotask CEO Bob Godgart will get elected to the Radio Controlled Hall of Fame. Godgart writes a best-selling book about the RC experience. Danica Patrick pens the intro.
19. Mega MSP Mergers: MSP University and MSPAlliance will merge. Weaver and Associates will advise on the deal. MSPmentor will miss the story entirely because Chief Blogger Joe Panettieri was on vacation. Panettieri will get fired. MSP University veteran Erick Simpson will become chief blogger at MSPmentor, replacing the disgraced Panettieri. Former MSP Partners lead Jim Hamilton will run the combined MSP University/MSPAlliance organization, succeeding MSPA's Charles Weaver, who will retire after receiving the MSPA/MSPU merger payout. Tired of search engine optimization problems, MSP (Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport) will buy MSPU, MSPA and MSPmentor and shuts them all down.
18: Open for Business: Former Everon Technology Services CEO Michael Cooch will launch five new companies. One of them will be named Start Up Company... It's mission is to... um, start up new companies. After all, that's what entrepreneurs do. (Kidding aside here's an update on Cooch.)
17. The Ultimate Price: The world's smartest managed service provider will accidentally publish their one-page price list. The price sheet answers the oldest question in the manged services market: "How much should I charge for my managed services?" So, what was the MSP's pricing secret? The sales sheet contains only two sentences: "Prices vary depending on services. Ask us for a personalized quote."
16. The Bill Comes Due: Microsoft will allow VARs and MSPs to bill end-customers for Microsoft's SaaS and cloud applications. All kidding aside, Microsoft does control the SaaS billing to customers. But The VAR Guy truly expects that to change someday (just a hunch...). Perhaps by 2012.
15. The Ultimate Conspiracy: All software viruses ever written will be traced back to a basement in a Silicon Valley home -- owned by Peter Norton.
14. It's Just A Moat: ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini will get bored with Iron Man competitions. Instead he'll try to swim the English Channel. There's absolutely no way this prediction will come true in 2011. But keep an eye on 2012...
13. Dinner for Two?: The VAR Guy will finally take OnForce CEO Peter Cannone to dinner after losing a bet on the Jets vs. Patriots Monday Night Football game. Cannone will order the steak. The VAR Guy will order the fries. They'll share a Coke. It's the ultimate Happy Meal... on The VAR Guy's budget.
12. Name That Tune: MSP Services Network CEO and CompTIA veteran Gerard Kane will sign a licensing deal with the Beatles, and relaunch Gerard's Song of the Day to compete with Apple iTunes. Kane will travel to Japan and secretly develop a mobile handheld device, designed exclusively to play Gerard's Song of the Day tunes. To fund the project, Kane will call every friend (and every former friend) who's carrying half a $20 bill.
11. He Could Have Been A Contender: SMB Nation CEO Harry Brelsford will show up at the ASCII Cup dressed as a boxer. Oh wait, that did happen.
10. Role Reversal: The VAR Guy will become CEO of Nine Lives Media Inc. Former CEO Amy Katz will shift her daily responsibilities to blogging. No invoices are sent out for two months. Cash flow stops. Readers run for the exits. Once again, an editor with no business sense destroys a media company. But The VAR Guy had fun doing it. Meanwhile, Katz lands on her feet as a celebrity blogger over on People.com. What's going on with Angelina and Brad this week? Katz's reply: "Read my blog." Meanwhile, Nine Lives Senior Sales Consultant Kim Daniels will appear on every TV talk show -- revealing what went wrong when The VAR Guy controlled the checkbook and Katz controlled the search engine optimization.
9. Killer Content: Dozens of online media companies will sign a treaty banning lame Web-based slide shows. You know the kind: Slide. Shows. That. Tell. You. Little. On. Each. Page. The VAR Guy will break the treaty, however, and launch a 26-page useless prediction slide show ... in December 2011.
8. Not Fit for Print: The VAR Guy will launch a glossy magazine. He'll go bankrupt, file for chapter 11 protection, receive government bailout money, relaunch as an iPad application, fail again, then relaunch as something called a "blog." Traditional media companies will dismiss the blog idea. But somehow it takes off. Again.
7. Four Out Of Five Dentists Recommend It: Jay McBain, director of channel development and community marketing at Lenovo, will finally turn his wild idea -- a WiFi toothbrush -- into a product. Kids across America realize they need to brush twice daily or they risk an automated report flowing wirelessly back to their parents and friends. McBain will smile all the way to the bank.
6. Sister Act?: Progressive Insurance and ConnectWise will accidentally host their partner conferences at the same time in the same hotel. IT Nation members accidentally hang out with the Progressive Insurance Girl (Flo), automating their insurance claims. Meanwhile, Progressive Insurance partners accidentally gather around ConnectWise Director of Community Jeannine Edwards, closing out trouble tickets for car accidents across the United States. Proving that The VAR Guy offers balanced, independent coverage, he misquotes both Flo and Edwards in a follow-up blog post.
5. Pirate Broadcast: Internet service providers will refuse to broadcast the Channel Happy Hour podcast because co-hosts Gerard Kane (a two-timer on this list, see prediction #12) and Brett Martin have been leaking highly sensitive information that could put VARs and MSPs in harm's way. Martin puts down his cocktail long enough to tell authorities he doesn't remember leaking anything during the broadcast, though he did spill a few dry martinis. Barred from broadband, Kane and Martin turn to short-wave radio, broadcasting their pirate signal from a boat on the Ohio River. It attracts a big audience of listeners... mostly folks working for the FBI and the CIA.
4. True Identity: The VAR Guy will finally be unmasked. Turns out he's an offshore blogger working in the Middle East. He picked up U.S. dialect by watching Seinfeld reruns and he learned about the channel by hanging out in a Best Buy while in Europe on a student exchange trip. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
3. Just Can't Make It: The VAR Guy will skip Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2011, Cisco Partner Summit and 75 other major channel events in 2011. Instead, he'll host his own cloud computing conference -- at 35,000 feet in a private jet, inviting only the most discriminating solutions providers. The lame attempt at high-altitude cloud humor fails miserably. Only Karl Palachuk, sympathetic to The VAR Guy, shows up. Palachuk hates the event content. But the snackage is great.
2. Never Mind: Everybody will abandon Cloud Computing. The VAR Guy will kill his sister site, TalkinCloud. The entire industry will instead rally around a new, insanely popular computing concept called Time Sharing.
1. You're Fired, And Hired: IBM will fire CEO Samuel J. Palmisano because of a mileage reimbursement discrepancy found on a European expense report. Palmisano was thinking kilometers. IBM was thinking miles. Larry Ellison calls and offers Palmisano a job. Ellison quips, "Stick with nautical miles and you'll do just fine at Oracle."
That's all for now. The VAR Guy is out of predictions. Though his inbox is filled with more channel rumors that are worth chasing...
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