Friday, December 28, 2012

Twitter goes public, Zynga CEO steps down and more 2013 tech industry predictions

My roundup of tech industry predictions for 2013 from around the Web continues here with looks at Twitter, Zynga, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn.

2013 tech predictions, part three:

1. Twitter will go public.

Microblogging service Twitter will go public in 2013 so it can afford to play in the “verticalization of the Web,” says Howard Lindzon, co-founder and CEO of Stocktwits. Facebook buying Instagram is one example of the trend toward verticalization, he says. Google and Amazon will be other players in the movement.
But as I wrote earlier in the week, Twitter also is seen as an acquisition target by Google in 2013.
Eric Jackson, founder of IronFire Capital, doubts Twitter will go public and could be a potential acquisition for Apple.
Patrick B. Gibson, a staff engineer at Tilde Inc. and former Apple employee, thinks Apple will buy Twitter to get its Web services expertise.
Cnet notes that Twitter has said for some time that it wants to remain an independent company. But if a big enough offer comes around, who knows?

2. Zynga CEO Mark Pincus will be forced out.

In his article “CEOs Who Will Get Fired in 2013,” Rocco Pendola, TheStreet’s director of social media, puts Zynga CEO Mark Pincus at the top of his list in terms of likelihood of getting canned. He said online games company Zynga should fire Pincus and “reassign” him to a role as founder and chief strategy officer.
Second on his list is Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly. His hiring was a “mistake,” Rendola said. “Fire his butt, but be nice in the process.”

3. Facebook will get its mojo back.

Social networking giant Facebook struggled after going public in 2012 as investors grumbled about its slowing growth and lack of mobile strategy. But several analysts think Facebook will shine in 2013.
“The recovery of Facebook” will be a big story in 2013, says Henry Blodget, editor and CEO of Business Insider. “They finally reaccelerate revenue and everybody gets excited about it again. (Facebook CEO) Mark Zuckerberg becomes this major league capitalist, which he is starting to show signs of. He’s sick of being humiliated (and called a) communist. That’s out the window.”
Will he put on a suit? “No. He’ll stick with the shirt.” And hoodie.
2013 will be the year of “mobile (advertising) at scale,” said Lucy Jacobs, chief operating officer at Spruce Media. “Mobile launched this year on Facebook and we’ve seen some really strong results on initial testing. I think Facebook is going to dial up the rate of monetization on mobile and advertisers will be able to tap into that channel further.”
Facebook will become “a meaningful ad-scale platform” in 2013, says Antonio Rodriguez, a general partner at Matrix Partners.

4. Google+ shows surprising growth.

Google’s social networking service “Google+ will pick up steam in 2013 and reach a threshold as Facebook’s growth will slow and some of that will be people deciding they can get more done on Google+,” says Marshall Sponder, an independent Web analytics and SEO/SEM specialist.
More people will use Google+ next year because Google is pushing users of its other services to give it a try. And Google+ will get a boost from mainstream media organizations, says Lindsey Cook, a junior journalism and computer science major at the University of Georgia.
“Google+ will continue to rise in newsrooms because of Google’s search algorithm,” she said. “Social media is already integrated into the algorithm. At some newspapers, SEO experts are telling them to have Google+ accounts and to post often. Why? It’s page rank, dummy, and that’s not going to go away.”

5. LinkedIn will go on a buying spree.

Professional networking service LinkedIn will be a “very active acquirer in 2013,” Lindzon says. “I believe they will make a few big acquisitions along with tuck-ins like my 2012 fave Rapportive. My favorite big idea for them remains Angellist.”
LinkedIn will be seen as “the new Facebook” next year, according to Affect, a public relations and social media firm specializing in technology, healthcare and professional services. LinkedIn will become important for companies interested in monitoring conversations about their brands and connecting with customers and influencers. LinkedIn also will be used by more journalists to research and break stories, Affect says.
Ed McMasters, director of marketing and communication at Flottman Company, is equally enthusiastic about LinkedIn’s prospects.
“The future of social media for B2B will be held in the hands of LinkedIn – the new advances of LinkedIn make it a true business-to-business relationship builder … I am a firm believer that LinkedIn will be the social media BIG GUY of the future.”

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