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Re/wind: Here's What Re/code Has to Say About 2016

Expect more of the same in 2016.

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A few weeks ago, our editors told us to pick a significant event in 2015 and extrapolate how it would play out this year. Over the past week, we’ve run a number of those pieces, spanning Microsoft, Airbnb, Google and other big tech players. Here’s what Re/code is expecting this year:

  • “Microsoft Unified Windows in 2015. Now, It Needs People to Use It.” Ina Fried: Microsoft has had trouble making software platforms that are widely used beyond desktop PCs; the world is trending toward mobile, where Apple and Google dominate. In 2015, Microsoft made Windows a truly cohesive multi-platform operating system. This year, it has to make Windows into something that developers want to use.
  • “Square Went Public in 2015. What Now?” Jason Del Rey: Square survived going public this year, although its CEO was also named Twitter’s new boss and its IPO valuation was less than what investors paid for in the private market. Square also built up an impressive array of new services for small business customers, which it says will be the future of its business.
  • “2016 Will Be a Good Year — And a Hard Year — For Airbnb,” Noah Kulwin: Airbnb picked a lot of fights in 2015, but it won most of them, or gathered enough Uber-like momentum (and VC cash) to make its victories seem imminent. This year, Airbnb will likely win even more political battles, but don’t be surprised if things get even uglier.
  • “In 2015, Terrorist Attacks Intensified the Debate Over Encryption,” Dawn Chmielewski: Terrorist attacks in San Bernardino and Paris prompted politicians and security officials to criticize the tough encryption tools that Silicon Valley companies like Facebook and Apple have built into messaging services. The tech industry isn’t expected to budge (and Washington isn’t expected to actually do anything about it), but the issue probably won’t die down.
  • “In 2016, We Will See More Self-Driving Cars and Safer Roads (Plus More Daredevil Videos),” Mark Bergen: In 2015, almost all of the major tech companies got more serious about or began launching automotive tech initiatives, especially ones that have to do with self-driving cars. Tesla even brought limited autonomous driving to its fleet. In 2016, the trend will continue, with lots of videos and new demos to show for it. Especially ones about self-driving.
  • “In 2015, Fantasy Sports Troubles Started With Disney’s Cold Feet. Next Year, Expect More Regulation.” Kurt Wagner: Fantasy sports services, particularly DraftKings and FanDuel, blew up last year, both raising and spending silly amounts of cash. Media and VC investors weren’t the only ones paying close attention, though. Regulators in multiple states shut down daily fantasy games, calling them a form of unlicensed gambling. Anticipate more of the same this year.
  • “In 2015, Dell Returned to the Limelight to Snatch EMC. Next Year He Will Need to Explain Why.” Arik Hesseldahl: Dell attempted to pull off the largest-ever acquisition in tech with its nearly $70 billion purchase of EMC. What awaits in 2016: Justifying why the deal was worth it for either company, more regulatory scrutiny (both in the U.S. and abroad) and potential activist investors lying in wait.
  • “In 2015, Google’s Personal Assistant Broke Out of Its Shell. Now It Has to Fight.” Mark Bergen: With Google Now, Mountain View was the first to get a fancy AI-powered personal assistant app onto smartphones. Facebook, which has bulked up on AI experts of its own, is also working on chatbots and other assistant tech. Google will have its hands full this year, fending off Facebook, Apple and whoever else steps into the AI ring.

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