Will 2011 Be The Year of IPO’s or The Year of Investigations?

The last three years have brought a world of change to online application development, and with the change and increasingly web savvy political and regulatory actors in the nation’s capitol, there is more focused attention on the consumer Internet industry than ever before.  In years past the focus of government was on issues like exploitation and anti-trust matters, but change appears to be afoot in Washington, DC now.  Questions and investigations (or calls for them) are swirling around the big software companies including Apple, Facebook, Google, and even Twitter.

If not for the fact that so many of the major consumer facing Internet companies one might dismiss this.  Just today, Business Insider’s Nicholas Carlson and Dan Frommer relayed details of an investigation into the way twitter is leveraging its developer API.  If this is the case then it is not difficult to imagine a day in the not so distant future where Uncle Sam trains sights on Facebook, Apple, and others.

One potential reason for this has much less to do with the regulatory and legal issues.  This is a tight budget year for state and federal government so perhaps these investigations are really thinly veiled fact finding operations for political leaders looking for angles that will help them generate revenue for their battered budgets.  If state and federal governments come up with problems that require settlements in the hundreds of millions range then that could ease pressure to cut programs.

Washington, DC is not exception.  DC leaders seem to be going out of their way to collect extra revenue in recent months.  Take for example, the retroactive pursuit of Internet transaction sales taxes in DC.

Even still, with the market heating up and more companies announcing their intentions to IPO this year 2011 promises to be the best year for startup founders, teams, and investors in at least a decade.

  

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