Critical Section

Future Shock

Wednesday,  04/14/04  10:42 PM

Among the interesting articles in the Fortune 500 edition of Fortune Magazine was Future Shock, a prediction for the top ten companies of 2054 by futurist Peter Schwartz.  Here's the list:

  1. AmazonBay.  The first company to break $10T in revenue.  That's T, not B.
  2. Toyota.  "Flying cars are still not an option...  Toyotas in 2054 resemble the cars of 2004—a passenger compartment, a separate engine compartment, and four wheels."
  3. Sinogazzon.  "The first fully integrated natural gas company - combining production, shipping, and distribution - came into being in 2025.  That year Gazzon, the result of an earlier merger of Exxon and Gazprom, the Russian gas producer, bought the Chinese distributor Sinogaz."
  4. Sinobiocorp.  "The revolution in molecular biology and genetics triggered a huge wave of innovative industries early in the 21st century.  The world market leader in life-science, Sinobiocorp, formed after a 2010 state-driven roll-up of Chinese biotech startups."
  5. Indosoft.  "Computers woke up in 2043.  But revolutionary change in the software business began years earlier as the U.S. giants began to be dominated by their Indian talent.  So in 2020, when Microsoft and Oracle merged, it just seemed natural to change the name to Indosoft and move the headquarters to the new Gatestown complex in Mumbai."
  6. IBM.  "Possibly the single most significant moment in business during the Fortune 500's second 50 years was the day in 2023 when IBM introduced the BohrBox, its first quantum hypercomputer for office use."
  7. Pattelco.  "The Indian software giant, originally a software startup of the Patel clan, bought the remnants of AT&T in 2025 and incorporated the long-distance company's initials in its name when it launched the telepresence (TP) industry."
  8. Nestlé.  "Once known for chocolates and baby formula, Nestlé dominates nutriceuticals, the new class of foods that bridges the gap between agriculture and drugs."
  9. Nanobotix.  "A product of the first wave of consolidation in nanotechnology startups, Nanobotix, in Palo Alto, has been the pioneer in manufacturing on the atomic scale."
  10. News Corp.  "After holding back the tide of digital distribution for nearly two decades, News Corp. switched direction in 2010 and led the trend of making all types of media available on demand - movies, newspapers, magazines, books, music."

A fascinating list.  There's much more on each company, too, see the article for details.

I agree with (1), I'm not sure about (2), (3) and (4) seem reasonable, (5) seems right about the Microsoft part, maybe right about the Oracle part, but wrong about the moving to India part, (6) could be right, (7) is okay, (8) would be cool but is a bit farfetched, and (9) seems very possible.  (10) seems dead wrong to me; this is where the parochialism of Fortune and parent TimeWarner creep in, they just don't want to admit that big media are headed for irrelevancy...

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