No doubt, a leading IT story in 2010 will be the role that sector will play in the expected economic recovery, as well as how IT markets themselves recover. OK, so that's a no-brainer to predict, but we're latching on to some more specific details in that regard, and we've found a limb or three to walk out on as well. In no particular order we present the 2010 edition of our annual predictions.
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We enter recovery
The global economy will limp into the first calendar quarter of next year, with IT playing an important role in the recovery, which will be modest in 2010. Although we don't expect much to happen until midyear as far as jobs creation and hiring, a whole lot of us are in need of new gear because purchases were deferred since late 2008, so hardware will lead the way in IT spending, with mobile telecommunications also important, particularly in developing countries.
IDC is forecasting 3.2 percent global IT spending growth, returning to 2008 levels of some $1.5 trillion, with emerging markets driving more than half of the projected growth. That sounds about right.
As for IT jobs, Foote Partners research leads analysts there to forecast for the U.S.: "We believe IT hiring overall will not pick up noticeably until late next year, and more likely 2011, despite recent GDP upturns and recovering stock prices in our nation's third straight year of economic instability. Expect the length of the tail on this staffing lag to be much longer than previous economic recoveries."
The needs that companies have for employees with very specific skills will continue to be the focus, Foote Partners predicts, which means training as well as outsourcing and offshoring, along with using managed services.
Apple bites into e-readers
Apple's tablet/e-reader will be unveiled to great spectacle and fanfare in the first quarter of the year. Throngs will stand in line for long hours to be among the first to possess what we predict will be the device to which rivals aspire. Because it's from Apple, it will have a cool design and user-friendly interface, and it will cost a load of money.
In other Apple news, AT&T's contractual gridlock on the iPhone will be broken, with Verizon entering that lucrative market as Apple eschews future U.S. exclusivity deals, ahead of regulators imposing rules forbidding that sort of mobile telecommunications contract.
Paging Jerry Yang
Carol Bartz will be out as Yahoo's CEO by the end of 2010, as the company continues to struggle and tries to reinvent itself, renewing its focus on technology rather than marketing and branding schemes. (But if the company is still keen on marketing and branding, we would recommend ditching the !.)
Oracle finally gets Sun and other M&A news
The Oracle-Sun Microsystems deal will close. Mindful of not incurring excessive wrath from the open-source community, Oracle will not kill off MySQL. Instead, it will be inserted into a stack along with Oracle's Unbreakable Linux, pitted against Microsoft SQL Server.
In a related story, to compete with Oracle as it continues on its acquisition trail, SAP will make a major hardware-centric acquisition of a U.S. company that has been a bit down-on-its-heels of late.