June 27, 2011
- Blackboard is no longer Blackboard. Blackboard will be Microsoft Education Services, or Amazon Education Services, or Tata Education Services, or perhaps Baidu Education Services. Some large information conglomerate will purchase Blackboard from whatever investment firm bought it in 2011, paying a premium to gain expertise, market share, and intellectual property in the fast growing (and long-term expanding) global market for educationally related services.
- As emerging economies gear up to bring postsecondary education attainment levels in line with late 20th century developed economies, it will become clear that these countries will leapfrog past traditional place- (campus-)based bundled (living and learning) institutions. Higher education will be largely mediated via technology (in sheer numbers, if not in the popular imagination), with the mobile computer being the most important educational endpoint. (The smart phone and the tablet will be to higher education in the 21st century what the lecture hall has been to higher ed in the 20th). An integrated education services company, like what Blackboard should be, will be a valuable asset for companies wishing to participate in the growing global higher ed market.
- Blackboard will no longer be a company, although it will perhaps remain as a branded education product. The brand, however, is less valuable than the installed user base of annual fee-paying customers, and the suite of integrated educational products.
- The Blackboard LMS will no longer be the company's most important product (although it will account for the majority of revenues until at least 2020). Rather, the fastest growth product will be services, the ability to deliver an end-to-end educational infrastructure from analytics to mobile learning.
- Google's failure to seriously invest and focus on education will be remembered as the most serious strategic blunder in the company's young history.
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