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Predictions, Predictions

Google’s stock will top $900 next year. Online voting won’t happen in our lifetime. And Microsoft Corp. will make a big push into virtualization, possibly buying Citrix.

Those were among the forecasts Tuesday night at the WSA annual predictions dinner as five panelists from the Pacific Northwest technology industry — Matt McIlwain of Madrona Venture Group; Kelly Smith of Curious Office Partners; Jonathan Sposato of Picnik; Enrique Godreau of Voyager Capital; and Steve Lidberg of Pacific Crest Securities — fielded a variety of questions about the future of the industry.

Moderator and P-I columnist, John Cook, has the story. [24×7]

Rumor Mill Primed in Seattle for Microsoft-Yahoo Acquisition
Former Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget, who writes for the popular liberal blog The Huffington Post, posited Friday that there is no way Microsoft Search could achieve a stated 30% market share on its own, so an acquisition may be in the works. His comments come after Microsoft President of Platforms and Services Kevin Johnson outlined the company’s online search goal at a UBS investor conference in Seattle on Thursday.

Yahoo shares closed up nearly 6 percent Friday on renewed speculation about a possible buyout by Microsoft. Company stock opened the day trading at $25.67 and closed at $26.82.

Both Microsoft and Yahoo have said they will not comment on rumors or speculation about a deal, gossip that ran rampant in the industry earlier this year. At the height of the rumors, Microsoft purchased digital services agency aQuantive for about $6 billion in May, the largest acquisition the company has ever made. [24×7]

Verizon’s iPhone Challenger Debs this Wednesday
For mobile phone enthusiasts who are on the outside looking in at AT&T/Cingular and missing out on the touch screen, pinch-and-go iPhone from Apple. Verison introduces a challenger this Wednesday.

Voyager combines both a touch-screen interface with iPhoe-like user behaviors and a full Qwerty keywboard in the flip-up clamshell mode. What’s more the data plans appear to be more sympatico offering instant messaging, Web browsing, and unlimited data and video downloads on a 3-tier pricig schedule just below iPhone limits. [24×7]

ZenZui Becomes Zumobi
Speaking of mobile Internet, ZenZui, a Seattle spinoff, has also announced it is changing its name to Zumobi.

Zumobi is offering a piece of software, currently only compatible with Windows Mobile phones, that works in connection with a back-end server and is designed to make mobile Internet use easier. The user interface is made up of 16 tiles on which users can easily zoom in and out. Each tile represents a Web page. Starting December 14, Windows Mobile users can visit Zumobi’s Web site to register for the beta. Users will be able to download the software directly to their phones. [24×7]

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