After a rough-and-tumble year of dot-com shakeouts, slashed IT budgets, rampant security breaches and infrastructure inundation one might be left wondering what in the world is in store for the IT industry in 2002. According to predictions released Thursday by International Data Corp. (IDC), the industry will see both new players and areas of interest, as well as an expansion of last year's trends.
That's right, in this palindromic year, the IT industry will be looking both forward and backward, regrouping from last year's surprising developments while plunging ahead with new technologies.
Starting with new developments, IDC predicted that China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) would open the door for the country to become a major IT player over the next few years. The company forecasts that China's 25 per cent IT spending growth will continue, leading it to become the third-largest IT market in the world by 2010.
On a corporate scale, however, international businesses will be left scrambling to rethink their IT planning in the wake of last September's terrorist attacks in the U.S. In what IDC called the "Bin Laden Effect, " referring to the number-one suspect held responsible for the attacks, Osama bin Laden, companies will be left to rethink their security spending as they consider the new threats to their IT infrastructure.
In other new trends, IDC predicted that Linux will have a breakout year, as more businesses see the open-source operating system as a viable alternative. Don't expect IT stalwarts like Microsoft to fall by the wayside, however. IDC forecast that Microsoft would ship some 75 million licenses of its new Windows XP operating system (OS), although the analysts doubted that the new OS would hold the same clout as Windows 95 did in driving hardware sales and luring first-time users.
Speaking of the software behemoth, IDC also predicted that digital identity services such as Microsoft's Passport single sign-on function will take hold in the market. In fact, Web service hype will reach an all-time high in 2002, IDC said, even if these much-touted services aren't yet available.
Most likely, wireless and mobile support for corporate users also will not be at the ready, according to IDC, although corporate users will be itching to use their mobile devices. And while the promise of mobility will not be completely fulfilled, the world of streaming media will continue to thrive as new standards and services come online.
As far as systems are concerned, server blades are due to impact the entry server and appliance server markets, IDC predicted, although they won't be big money makers in 2002. The new architecture will shake things up, however, offering a new option to businesses.
All in all, 2002 should be an interesting year, as the recession begins to wane and spending resumes. According to IDC, the IT market will make a rebound by mid-2002, with IT spending increasing 4 per cent to 6 per cent in the U.S., 6 per cent to 7 per cent in Western Europe and 10 per cent to 12 per cent in Asia/Pacific over last year.
Users can only wait to see how a fresh cash injection will impact the market. Of course, no one ever said that the fun of IT was its predictability.
IDC is a subsidiary of International Data Group Inc., the parent company of IDG News Service.