Nine Great Innovations, Opportunities and Challenges for 2012 - Slide 5

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At a time where iOS and Android have become the dominant mobile platforms and Apple is gaining an increasing amount of market share in the PC and laptop markets, we predict that Windows platforms will have a strong showing in 2012, driven by significant traction in the mobile space through the re-emerging Nokia brand and the release of touch-focused, Windows 8 for PCs and laptops.

GP Bullhound believes that Windows 7 OS will gain share in the mobile space in 2012, driven by a number of factors, including the ability to offer a variety of handsets based on Nokia's re-emergence with a broad product portfolio (including phones with keyboard, smaller phones and rugged phones - none of which are addressed by the Samsung-Apple duopoly), the attractive price points of their handsets due to Nokia's value chain control and sourcing power, Nokia’s significant distribution capabilities, and the tight integration with outlook and office attachments – a powerful feature so far essentially only offered by Blackberry.

To support content growth in the Windows ecosystem, Microsoft and Nokia have incentivized app developers to their platform with monetary and support-based incentives, including cash pay-outs, handsets, and app design assistance. In a crowded marketplace, we believe these incentives will pay-off, leading consumers to welcome Windows 7 as a viable third alternative to iOS and Android.

Promoting a stronger user experience, Windows is placing an increasing emphasis on the seamless integration between their PC and Mobile OS. Accordingly, Windows 8 will be the first OS that has been specifically designed for touch screen PCs. While the OS will still support keyboard and mouse inputs, the interface has been radically updated, having been designed as a touch-first interface. Notably, this interface mimics the Windows 7 mobile OS.

Companies to Watch: Vertigo 3D Software, Read It Later, Evernote

As technology analysts and advisors, GP Bullhound expects a volatile 2012 with pockets of great innovation, opportunity and new successes, but also continued challenges as commoditization will wreak havoc to some industries, and hype will remain in others creating near-term opportunity and in some cases long-term issues.

We are entering the new year under rather unusual circumstances. The macroeconomic outlook remains cloudier than ever due to unprecedented uncertainty around a number of major global economic and political situations including the fate of the Euro and the European economies, the status of the U.S. recovery and the role of the U.S. dollar, nervousness in recently outperforming emerging markets, like Brazil, and the global impact of a slowdown in China just to mention a few.

Some things do remain the same however such as the continued global Internet trend, the rapid mobilization of users and applications and the inevitable trend of increased online social interaction.

In 2012, GP Bullhound expects Internet to continue its inevitable shift from being an information and content channel to a trusted platform for socializing, sharing, communicating and most importantly for 2012, consuming. Furthermore, they expect a lot of opportunity to come out of the rapid adoption of mobile online activities, particularly in emerging markets. They also expect to see some much needed innovation in the enterprise software arena, which is now well behind the consumer technology curve.

The macroeconomic outlook however remains cloudier with unprecedented levels of uncertainty on a global scale. In an ever-more connected and competitive global technology world, there will be little room to hide without differentiated products or services. The value of IP will continue to rise, while commoditization will punish the me-too players. As a consequence, they are seeing investors and acquirers becoming increasingly willing to travel far to find best-of-breed companies, supporting an anticipated rise in cross-border acquisitions and investment activities. All in all, they look forward to an interesting 2012.

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