Since predictions are kinda lame and I'm not particularly good at them, I thought I'd opine on what I think the major stories of 2009 will prove to be… along with implications

Government 2.0 — if the Obama administration earned a mandate of any kind, it is in the area of government intervention in the free market.  There will be opportunities in not just the modernization of government data systems/infrastructure, but also in helping government operate more efficiently and helping government help business.  I expect to see billions of public dollars move into areas where Web entrepreneurs can benefit.  This may be the biggest story in our industry in 2009.

The cycle begins to refresh — the prospects for early-stage startups should improve throughout 2009.  Why?  We'll collectively snap out of the panic of 2008 and time will pass.  We'll all look ahead more optimistically to the future.  Remember, a lot of this panic has been the destruction of capital — but a lot of it also has to do with capital sitting on the sidelines.  It will be increasingly unleashed throughout 2009.

Forks in the road — I don't remember a time when the major players in our industry all had tough strategic choices for the future.  Google needs a second trick.  Microsoft needs a way to make progress in advertising.  Facebook needs a business model.  Twitter needs a business model.  Loopt needs an acquirer?  Yahoo needs an acquirer.  Apple needs diversification beyond hardware.  Some will find the answers and there will be some consolidation.  The choices these major players make will determine quite a bit about the future of the Web.

The cloud computing platform & developer attention fight intensifies — "Use my API and host it on our cloud platform"  OK, I don't think we'll get to that point in 2009.  But the proliferation of web services and cloud computing platforms will only continue this year.  Open data has won just about everywhere on the Web.  Amazon Web Services will be joined by competitive offerings from Google and Microsoft.  What is common across all of this?  The need to win over early stage startups.

There ya have it.  Not predictions as much as it is a set of themes for our industry in 2009.

Have a happy new year everyone!