Given that it’s New Year’s Eve, I thought that I’d make a quick list of New Year’s resolutions that I’d like to see the tech industry adopt for 2014. While some of these resolutions are certainly pipe dreams, I do think that they’re all worthy of consideration simply because they’d be good for tech fans and consumers overall. So without ado, here are the five things that I think absolutely need to happen in the tech world next year.
- Lenovo should buy HTC. HTC has a team of very talented engineers who design some of the best hardware in the smartphone business… but it’s not a well-run company at all. Lenovo, in contrast, is a very well-run company that was the only OEM to actually thrive during the great PC sales collapse of 2013… and yet, its smartphones and tablets could use some real help when it comes to design choices. A team-up between the companies, where HTC’s brilliant hardware designs could be married with Lenovo’s strong business sense, seems like it would be an ideal match.
- Microsoft should hire a CEO who vows to keep Xbox and Bing around. There’s been a lot of chatter lately from both investors and longtime Microsoft insiders advising the next CEO of Microsoft to kill off its Xbox and Bing divisions, neither of which has proven profitable for years. This is a short-sighted strategy that Microsoft’s board should reject out of hand. The Xbox, while not profitable, is wildly popular and is the key device for giving Microsoft an edge in consumers’ living rooms. Bing, meanwhile, has grown to be much more than a search engine and is being integrated into some of the core functionalities of Windows. Killing off either would show a distinct lack of vision, which is something Microsoft sorely needs.
- Sprint should abandon its bid to buy T-Mobile, focus on getting its own house in order. This is something that I touched on recently but it can’t be said enough: Now is not the time for a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. While T-Mobile has made several aggressive moves to shake up the wireless industry over the past year, Sprint has been stuck in neutral with the typical user complaints about its wireless network quality and its customer service. If Sprint really wants to make a big impact in the U.S. wireless industry then it should spend the next year boosting its network and getting creative with its pricing policies before it looks into buying up another wireless carrier.
- Apple should swallow its pride and release a phablet. Remember back when phablets were the butt of jokes for certain tech writers? Well those days are long gone because devices such as the Galaxy Note 3 have become giant hits with consumers who love large displays. But even as companies such as Nokia, HTC and BlackBerry have all followed in Samsung’s footsteps by releasing their own phablets there’s been one company that’s been conspicuously absent: Apple. The good news is that Apple finally looks ready to take the plunge into the phablet market next year and the most recent rumors claim that a 5-inch iPhone could come as soon as May.
- John Legere needs to start his own cable company. OK, so now we’re firmly out of the realm of possibility. However, there’s no doubt that the pay TV and home broadband market is in desperate need of a shakeup from a feisty upstart that can make the incumbent cable companies compete based on price and service quality. Google Fiber is off to a promising start but for now it’s only in three markets and isn’t big enough to make a nationwide impact. One thing is clear, however: Cable companies’ comically low customer satisfaction ratings and the continued rise of cord cutting mean that there is a big market out there for consumers who don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars every month for bundles of channels that they’ll never watch.