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December 14, 2006

Gartner's 2007 Crystal Ball: Windows Declines, Malware Attacks, and Other Predictions

During the twilight of each calendar year, a common activity is to look back over the past twelve months and reflect on all that has happened. When it comes to information technology (IT), though, a more meaningful—or at least potentially more interesting—activity is to look ahead at what may lie ahead during the next twelve months.
That’s exactly what the folks at industry research firm Gartner (News - Alert) have been doing lately. The firm this week released a report highlighting key predictions for IT organizations during 2007—and beyond.
In an announcement about the report, Gartner stressed that the predictions are general in nature, rather than applying to specific IT industries or roles within organizations.

“Selected from across our research areas as the most compelling and critical predictions, the trends and topics they address this year indicate that priorities, markets, cultures and technologies are all rapidly changing,” Gartner analyst Daryl Plummer said in a statement.
Plummer continued: “These changes will require that IT and business change their approach to delivering and quantifying value. IT professionals must examine these predictions for opportunities to increase their support of consumer-driven requirements and their ability to help the business deliver stronger services to those customers.”
Okay, enough preliminaries; what does Gartner see in its crystal ball? Some of the report’s findings are summarizes below.
Market Share for IT Outsourcers Will Decline Through 2009
 More specifically, the top 10 outsourcers will see market share decline to 40 percent (from 43.5 percent in 2006), representing a revenue shift of $5.4 billion. As a result, some vendors will cease to exist in their current form.
“The reduced number of large contracts, increased amount of competition and reduction in contract sizes have placed great pressure on outsourcers, which will have to ‘sink or swim’ based on support for selective outsourcing and disciplined multisourcing competencies,” Gartner predicted.
By Year’s End 2007, 75 Percent of Enterprises Will be Infected with Malware
This malware will be undetected, financially motivated, and targeted to evade traditional perimeter and host defenses.

“The threat environment is changing — financially motivated, targeted attacks are increasing, and automated malware-generation kits allow simple creation of thousands of variants quickly — but our security processes and technologies haven't kept up,” Gartner noted.
Vista Will be the Last Major Release of Microsoft (News - Alert) Windows
If Gartner is be believed, Windows—or at least the development and distribution models it’s based upon—is going down.
“The next generation of operating environments will be more modular and will be updated incrementally,” Gartner predicted. “The era of monolithic deployments of software releases is nearing an end.”
Microsoft, Gartner envisions, will be a player in the move toward the new model.
Average Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for New PCs Will Drop 50 Percent by 2010
Increasingly, computer makers are focusing on manageability, automation and reliability as they develop their products, Gartner said. That trend will continue, helping to differentiate products in the very commoditized PC market.

“Many of the manageability and support tools will be broadly available across multiple vendors,” Gartner predicted. “However, vendors that can leverage these tools further and can graduate from claims of "goodness" to concrete examples of cost savings will have a market advantage.

By 2010, 60 Percent of Worldwide Mobile Phone Users Will be Trackable
A new “follow-me Internet” is emerging, Gartner said, and the popularity of this technology will only increase, despite privacy concerns. Market forces already are at work softening regulations intended to protect user privacy.
“Marketing incentives will also push users to forgo privacy concerns, and many other scenarios will enable outsiders to track their users,” Gartner said in its report.
By 2008, Almost 50 Percent of Data Centers Will Lack Necessary Power and Cooling Capacity
The world’s data centers, running high-density equipment, are over-heating and running out of power, Gartner said, adding that the problem will get worse before it gets better. There is hope, though.
“Although the power and cooling challenge of high-density computer equipment will persist in the short term, a convergence of innovative technologies will begin to mitigate the problem by 2010,” Gartner said.
Other Predictions
Gartner also predicted that:
  • Through 2011, enterprises will waste $100 billion buying the wrong networking technologies and services.
  • Only one Asia/Pacific-based service provider will make the global top 20 through 2010.
  • Blogging and community contributors will peak in the first half of 2007.
  • By 2009, corporate social responsibility (CSR) will be a higher board- and executive-level priority than regulatory compliance.
Fasten your seatbelts, everyone; it’s going to be a bumpy and interesting ride.
Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page. Also check out her Wireless Mobility blog.


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