2008 IT forecasts: XP lives and the greening of tech

Will IT become green? Who will be hacking whom? What inroads will Linux make and will Microsoft give XP users a reprieve? Read on to find out what we think about these issues and more.

Blurred lines

Distinctions between consumer and corporate IT will continue to blur, and the social-networking phenomenon is but one element of that. iPhone-buying employees will bring that device into the enterprise in ever-growing numbers, forcing IT departments to deal with it. Security and protection from hackers, spam, phishers and the lot of cyber miscreants will continue to pose a huge headache for network administrators as home IT merges with corporate IT.

The consolidation drumbeat

Pure-play software vendors will increasingly be a thing of the past as Oracle and other monoliths swoop in on more acquisition targets in the new year.

And IDC has predicted for 2007 and again for 2008 that Salesforce.com will be bought (though '07 isn't over yet ...). That seems like a good guess. We don't expect Palm to make it through '08 without being bought, and that long-rumored Microsoft-RIM deal could come to pass, too.

Virtualization comes to the desktop

We didn't want to make a virtualization prediction, but we would be remiss not to. Many prognosticators are gazing into their crystal balls and seeing virtualization on desktops. While some analysts are predicting that will be a sort of Thin Client 2.0, Barry Eggers, Lightspeed general partner, enterprise infrastructure, envisions something different. "Thin clients were about reducing up-front capital costs with a slimmed-down hardware client. Desktop virtualization is about intelligently provisioning applications to desktop users," he says.

He envisions a more successful model will find IT shops using desktop virtualization in conjunction with virtualized servers. Early adopters are finding that users weren't so keen on that model because the "user experience [is] much less satisfying than a full desktop," he says, but that will start to change in the new year. How? And where will it lead? We'll leave that to the 2009 predictions.

Vote early and often

Although we realize that the US is not the center of the universe, the upcoming election seems more important on a global scale than others in recent memory. So, we predict historic levels of turnout at the polls in November, and that will give rise to historic levels of problems with electronic voting. Ohio will be a mess in that regard. Florida won't be appreciably better. While the outcome of the presidential race won't be imperiled by e-voting issues, some state and local races will need manual recounts owing to problems with machines.

Sorting out how to regulate e-voting (again) will keep the new Congress (with Democrats in control of both houses) busy in the first quarter of next year. The new president might not directly affect IT, though the president's views regarding the use of technology have certainly had an effect in recent years. On that note, we'll make our boldest prediction for 2008: President Obama.

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Nancy Weil

IDG News Service

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