Today's the last day The Reg's Australian crew will bother showing up for work until the new year, making it the ideal opportunity to offer some insights into the future of the nation's IT industries and policies. We did it last year and reckon the results weren't horrid, so let's have another go, shall we?
Data retention database hacked
Once Australia passes its data retention legislation, telcos and ISPs will have not very much time in which to build their repositories of retained data.
By 2016, one will be compromised. And its owner will point the finger at the government for forcing it to go fast with its build. The resulting Outrage FrenzyTM will be both magnificent and utterly predictable. Any of us could probably write half of the articles about it today.
Telstra rumoured to acquire bits of FTTP NBN
The federal government has recently started doing some very basic groundwork to make it possible to sell off the National Broadband Network (NBN) in chunks, probably defined by last mile technology.
By 2016 most of the fibre-to-the-premises NBN build will be done and, with the federal budget under continued pressure, the government will be looking for a quick cash hit. NBN Co will also be looking for cash to fund more of the NBN build. Selling off a chunk of the NBN could the government, and may also be a way to justify taking on a bit more NBN-building-debt if the markets aren't being kind to NBN Co.
Telstra is a natural buyer, and by 2016 rumours will emerge that the Big T is contemplating a purchase. Or a swap. Or a deal of some sort. The rumours might even be true, but whether Telstra's contemplation is deep will be another story.
Microsoft's channel gets grumpy
In 2015 Microsoft will launch a new version of Windows Server. All indications are it will be very much aimed at users of hybrid clouds, with lots of lovely hooks into Azure.
Some of those hooks might just be too deep for some – and we don't mean Google or AWS. Instead, ponder the fate of a Microsoft partner that sells and installs backup software and on-premises storage. Today, such resellers have a revenue stream from a software vendor and a storage vendor. And maybe even a cloud storage provider, too. If Windows Server gains a utility offering single-click access to Microsoft's Azure Site Recovery VM-snapshot-and-upload service, that partner's three revenue streams may start to thin.
Even if that thinning is not profound, the lack of diversification will worry sensible partners.
On a global scale, this scenario has the potential to spark rumblings about monopolistic practices.
Microsoft can point to the fact that Azure can be a target for backup software, but if Redmond is eating vendors' lunches the courts are one way to address the situation. We'll be surprised if at least one vendor doesn't at least send letters pointing out that Windows Server and Azure are getting close to legally contentious vertical integration. And we expect that resellers will at the very least start to shift uncomfortably in their seats.
Foxtel hits trouble
Netflix's 2015 arrival, plus the advent of local clones, will go well. Foxtel won't.
We see two scenarios here.
In the first, Foxtel's bottom line hurts as it defends itself from streaming rivals by buying more programming, for more money. Streaming companies won't necessarily want the programs they bid for, but will bid in part to increase Foxtel's costs in order to reduce its ability to discount.
In the second, Foxtel subscribers paying $50 a month start shifting to $15/month streaming providers.
Either way, the streamers are going to make life tricky for Australia's dominant pay-TV provider.
Australia loses a regional HQ to China
A couple of vendors The Reg has chatted to of late are now treating China as a region, rather than as one nation in the Asia-Pacific region. China's government likes it that way, and the market is big enough to justify it.
In 2016 we'll see more of this and one such reshuffle will see a vendor that now treats Australia as its regional headquarters carve out China and make Singapore or another Asian city is its Asian HQ.
Even if it's now a big vendor that does this, much hand-wringing will ensue about Australia's place in the technology world, most of it pointlessly oblivious to the fact that any year now half a dozen Asian economies will eclipse our buying power.
So there you have 'em: Vulture South's short-to-medium-range forecasts. Let fly with your own in the comments, and have a Merry Christmas and splendid New Year! ®