Only in tech do the veterans maintain some sway. I think that it could be a fabulous year for Intel and Microsoft, owing to strong Chinese and Indian demand for personal computers. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t new challengers making their moves, and those moves aren’t bound by the four walls of the PC. By the end of this decade, I expect we will have new machines, hybrids that will combine our computers and our phones and our televisions in one device, and the tech enablers for that all-in-one gadget will be companies you might never have heard of, companies like Broadcom and Marvell Technology, two players who came of age during the dot-com era and then prospered by creating integrated circuits for communications and broadband. Broadcom and Marvell remind me of the semiconductor heyday, when Texas Instruments and National Semi dominated the landscape. Those two companies made fortunes before they succumbed to the next generation’s winners. As broadband use becomes pervasive worldwide, Broadcom and Marvell could be the next tech thoroughbreds to break out of the pack.
So you can stick with the tried and now untrue, or you can go with me on the hunt for maidens unclaimed. I say leave the Mercks and the Exxons to your parents’ portfolios; join me in owning the Genentechs and the Chesapeakes, but with one sure warning: In another decade, we will have to switch horses again.