RealTime IT News

What's In Store for Global IT in 2002?

As much as media sites scrambled to put together looking-back pieces on high-tech before the New Year, some research firms are tossing out predictions after January 1. International Data Corp. Thursday unleashed some assured prophesies of its own for the global IT market in 2002.

While Framingham, Mass.'s IDC listed 10 predictions, readers may want to know the outfit's thoughts about the be-all, end-all question: will high-tech rebound from a harsh year? Indeed, said the research firm's Chief Research Officer John Gantz, who forecasted that IT spending will increase 4 to 6 percent in the U.S., 6 to 7 percent in Western Europe and 10 to 12 percent in the Asia/Pacific region in 2002. However, it likely won't happen until this summer. Gantz said the key reason for this was the events of September 11.

"Prior to September 11 we were expecting the rebound to begin in 2001," said Gantz. "but terrorism's impact on the global economy took a commensurate toll on the IT market." "The good news is that the economic assumptions behind our IT forecast are holding up. In fact they may be conservative. If that's the case, the IT recovery could come sooner and be stronger than we currently predicted."

IDC listed 10 top predictions for 2002, a few of which may point out the obvious, such as the notion that the happenings of 9-11 will make businesses rethink security plans. IDC's Gantz calls this "The Bin Laden Effect" and, while this could not be more right, security experts have said this since Sept. 12.

IDC also said demand for wireless access will skyrocket for "enterprise support that's not yet in place." This, too, is something many industry watchers claimed throughout 2001.

For technology-specific predictions, IDC called streaming media (surprise!) a mainstay because new standards and services will come into play (remember the ascendance of video conferencing in the wake of 9-11? The companies that were overwhelmed with requests for it do). IDC also said Linux, the purveyors of which suffered beatings in a tough economic climate, will rebound mightily to enjoy a breakout year, as it remains a viable alternative to Windows, et al.

A clear hardware winner, according to the outfit, will be server blades. While it won't earn the IBMs, Sun Microsystems, or Compaqs much bread, IDC said the new architecture will disrupt the entry server and appliance server markets. As for Web services, which seemingly every software and/or service provider wants to provide to harness the capabilities of the Internet, will see its hype peak in 2002.

Of course, IDC also placed some company- and product-specific bets -- about Microsoft Corp., no less. The research outfit claimed 75 million Windows XP licenses will ship in 2002, and that the software giant will push its Passport identity service to the point of making rivals react, making digital ID a reality. However, IDC said single-sign-on to the Web will "remain a consumer's pipe dream."

Lastly, and on the international front, IDC said China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) will assure the country of a continuing 25 percent IT spending growth.