Talking tech since 2003

The new year is right around the corner and for some 2011 will be a crucial year to rebound.  For AOL, Microsoft, and Yahoo 2011 is the year which will be the determining factor of each companies success in the future.  If these companies do not step it up in 2011 it will drastically effect their role in the years to come within the tech industry.

Currently, Microsoft does not have an answer to mobile (smartphones or tablets) and their cloud efforts (e.g. are really just starting.  So far, the move to mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets in addition to more cloud-based computing has been led by Apple and Google.  As for, AOL and Yahoo, they are competing for advertising dollars with Google, which is never an easy task.  Let’s examine each of the three companies and what they have to do in 2011.

1. AOL CEO Tim Armstrong has already came out publicly and stated that we should expect to see good things from AOL in 2011.  But will they be able to deliver?  It’s a tough marketplace, especially competing against Google.  I have stated my thoughts on the matter and I believe AOL is still in it.  However, the proper execution still has to happen for it work out nicely.  Nonetheless, 2011 is a crucial year for AOL.  It is critical that AOL’s acquisitions start to pay off for them and that any potential future acquisitions they make are truly in their best interest.

2. Microsoft will also be under a microscope in 2011, the company’s stock price has been stagnant for quite some despite their solid numbers and everyone will be eager to see how well the recently released Windows Phone 7 is doing.  Microsoft has been in a battle for relevance within the consumer market for a while now, falling behind Apple and Google in many areas, especially mobile.  The most successful product out of Microsoft lately is the Kinect for the XBOX 360 which is selling very well this holiday season.  However, obviously that isn’t enough to keep this company going.  Microsoft is going to need to make some decisions in 2011 where they will start focusing the majority of their resources.  The biggest decision for them will be in mobile and that solely depends on how well their Windows Phone 7 devices are selling.

3. Yahoo is currently in very bad shape, as Michael Arrington of TechCrunch wrote the other day, they are in complete disarray.  Employees are leaving the company left and right, now after the latest string of layoffs their head of engineering of 11 years just left on Friday.  The company has also decided to shut down a number of their products including geek-favorite Delicious.  The problem with Yahoo currently is their lack of direction and leadership.  It is apparent something isn’t right over there, if there was a game plan that employees were onboard with they wouldn’t be leaving the company.  Yahoo needs to revamp in 2011 or they will be in serious trouble going forward.

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