When Norman Mailer was promoting his biography of Picasso, a talk show host asked him why, with so many books already written about the great artist, people should buy his. "Because I already read all the others," Mailer shot back, "so they only have to read mine."

If that thinking is good enough for Mailer, it's good enough for me. So instead of offering predictions for 2007 after so many others have offered theirs, let's pick through some of the more interesting and provocative forecasts and handicap their chances of coming true in the next 12 months:

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft (MSFT) CEO: "In 2007, I believe that phone numbers and email addresses will begin to give way to a single identity, and the desktop phone will merge with the PC and mobile phone. Messages will be routed to you on a device that will be smart enough to know whether you can be interrupted based on what you are doing and who the message is from."

Chances: 10%.

Tech and media execs have been going on about this kind of integration for years, without it ever happening. It's nice to see Ballmer, who was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, holding up the tradition.

But unless Microsoft has some secret plans for next year, which I doubt, this won't happen right away. Yes, the PC is dying, and yes, mobile devices and applications will make big strides forward. But the integration of identities, let alone communications devices, is still years away.

If you liked this article you might like

Grand Canyon's Good, but Hardly Pristine

Grand Canyon's Good, but Hardly Pristine

Baidu May Not Be a Bargain Yet

Baidu May Not Be a Bargain Yet

Tech Earnings Roundup: Who Wins, Loses

Tech Earnings Roundup: Who Wins, Loses

Tech Venture Capitalists Feeling the Pain

Tech Venture Capitalists Feeling the Pain

Amazon's Setting Up to Reward Patience

Amazon's Setting Up to Reward Patience