2015 was a blockbuster year in which one tech icon, Hewlett Packard, split itself in half and two others, EMC and Dell attempted to navigate a more-complicated-by-the-minute plan to combine themselves into one.
That dichotomy illustrates two world views roiling the tech landscape. HP’s journey exemplified the notion that it’s better to be smaller but more focused on key markets rather than trying to cover the universe. The Dell take, on the other hand, is that bigger is just plain better. Michael Dell is from Texas, after all.
With that in mind, here are five totally personal, non-scientific predictions about what will happen in tech in 2016.
1: Meg Whitman will declare victory and exit HP
Count on this one. Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (hpe) and Chairman of HP Inc. (hpq), will initiate a search for a replacement (if she hasn’t already), find one, and take a victory lap before departing.
Who could blame her? Stepping in after Leo Apotheker’s discredited 11-month stint as Hewlett Packard CEO; cleaning up after his $7.4 billion purchase of Autonomy; and negotiating HP’s breakup were jobs not for the faint of heart. And trying to keep the company relevant in an era where Amazon (amzn) Web Services dominated the cloud computing discussion has not been easy.
In 2016, we will see Whitman’s “Mission Accomplished” moment.
2: Dell and Tucci have more ‘splaining to do
If Dell chief executive Michael Dell and his EMC counterpart Joe Tucci thought their grand plan to combine Dell and EMC (EMC) (and VMware) into one cohesive-but-diverse whole would sail past shareholders, they were mistaken.
Since announcing the plan in October, EMC has had to re-adjust to make investors (particularly irate VMware shareholders) happy. Toward that end, a plan to combine VMware vCloud Air with Virtustream, the enterprise cloud company EMC acquired last year, was tossed. VMware shareholders beefed that EMC/Dell’s plan for a VMware tracking stock devalued their investment.
They will have to do more to rationalize this corporate combination. Dell is reportedly trying to sell non-core parts of its business to pay down the $50 billion or so in debt the plan can proceed. So big is great, but even the biggest have to make concessions to get their deals done.
3: Microsoft Azure will assert itself
As a stronger number 2 public cloud to AWS. In the public cloud scenario, the provider—Amazon, Google (GOOG), and Microsoft (MSFT) are the major contenders—run a fleet of data centers worldwide that pool massive numbers of computer servers, storage, and bandwidth that customers rent out by the hour or per gigabyte. Microsoft is already in the big three of public cloud giants, but may try to double up on its position the behind leader of the pack, Amazon Web Services.
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AWS, the pioneer which launched in 2006, won the hearts and wallets of developers at startups and small companies long ago, because a single developer could easily set up a test site on AWS using his credit card. That model is now being adapted by bigger companies that are putting more jobs on this infrastructure rather than expanding their own data centers.
But Microsoft has a raft of Windows-focused developers and, perhaps more to the point, tens of thousands of existing business customers. It has the customer relationships and seems to have convinced even non-Windows developers that Azure is a hospitable environment for running open-source software as well.
4: Cloud Foundry will come to Google Cloud
Another sure bet. Cloud Foundry, in the form of Pivotal CF, will officially run on Google (goog) Cloud Platform (GCP).
That shouldn’t be a surprise. The goal of Cloud Foundry, an open-source software development framework, is to run on all the major cloud infrastructures. It already runs on AWS, Microsoft Azure public clouds, and on VMware (vmw) vSphere, the virtualization software that runs most corporate data centers. To be fair, Cloud Foundry will run on GCP now, but it takes considerable tweaking.
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Given that Google needs to prove it’s serious about being a cloud provider to big businesses and that Cloud Foundry is pushed as a way for businesses to more easily design, build, test, and deploy new applications, this could be a win for both parties.
5: Internet of Things hype will blather on.
This is a no brainer. The potential of the Internet of Things or IOT, is huge.
The Internet of Things comprises billions of connected devices and sensors that talk to people and to each other. The upshot is that these smart devices make predictive maintenance of machines out in the field easier, makes our homes more remote-controllable, and will let our doctors monitor our health and well being.
IoT can help feed the economy since it will require the continuous expansion of cloud infrastructure and data analytics to collect and parse all that information to make it truly useful
Clearly there is value here but let’s keep our heads about us and not try to wrap every press release, no matter how irrelevant, in the IoT banner.