Ballmer Will Say Adios, IPOs Will Return, Amazon Will Crack $200: Predictions for 2011 From WTIA Panel

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went on a limb to predict that Ballmer will exit the stage before the end of 2011. He noted that Ballmer’s revenue and profit performance has been exceptional, but cautioned that it will be hard to keep it going. Buhrman also saw something happening between the lines when he heard news about Ballmer selling $2 billion of his Microsoft stock holdings. “He’s at his peak, and he’s liquidated some of his stake. That’s a precursor,” Buhrman said.

For startups in the house, Gottesman had an encouraging (albeit tempered) prediction. The IPO window is always fickle, and can get slammed shut when “something happens in Ireland,” he said, but he expects this opportunity to open up for more than one Seattle tech company in 2011. He wouldn’t say a specific number, other than “we will have more than one, but not more than five.” He also said he expects one of the TechStars companies will be acquired in 2011 for a “nice exit.”

“That will be good for the community,” Gottesman said.

As for naming names on IPO candidates, that’s when the panelists got a little more shy. Gupta said he thinks Impinj and Redfin are doing well, although I didn’t hear him actually predict an IPO in their future.

By the end, the panel was going on record with their views on how some of technology’s biggest names will perform in the coming year, by predicting their stock prices at the end of 2011. Most of the panelists expected Microsoft to essentially keep treading water, ending the year between $25 and $28 a share, although Buhrman predicts it will hit $35 because it will buy Nokia.

Here’s what the panelists had to say about where they think Amazon’s stock will end up at the end of 2011: The stock closed at $158.35 yesterday.

Gupta: The stock will rise 20 to 30 percent (which translates to $189 to $205)

Ashida: $200

DeVore: $175

Buhrman: $175

Gottesman: $185

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