2015: IT vendor upheaval ahead?

IDC sees some major mergers ahead for top IT vendors as data centers transform. IDC didn't name names, but I'll take a stab at it.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

IDC is predicting that cloud computing and upheaval in the data center will lead to "two or three major mergers, acquisitions, or restructurings among the top-tier IT vendors in 2015."

The 2015 predictions from IDC aren't all that surprising. Analyst Frank Gens will talk a lot about the cloud, mobile, big data and analytics at a Web conference on Tuesday. What may be more interesting is the vendor fallout. The notable predictions from IDC include:

  • China will have an increasing say in information and communications technology spending and companies such as Alibaba and Tencent will become global players. Meanwhile, Chinese vendors will increasingly grab share on the mobile front and take a third of the global smartphone market. Sales of smartphones and tablets will represent 40 percent of all IT spending growth.
  • Wearables will show a lot of innovation, but disappoint in sales.
  • Cloud services adoption will surge with $118 billion in spending for 2015, but Amazon will be under attack from all directions.
  • Data as a service will become critical to big data spending and predictive maintenance applications will drive Internet of things spending.
  • Data centers will transform as workloads move to the cloud.

Indeed, there are multiple moving parts in the industry and IDC's predictions are thread the needle between being vague yet concrete enough to be on target. But the more notable point is how the fallout will affect vendors and their customers.

IDC didn't name vendors that may consolidate, but its industry upheaval prediction is probably on target. After all, there are usually a few major IT mergers and restructurings each year. Here are a few vendor thoughts for 2015 to pick up the baton from IDC:

  • EMC and HP's enterprise business merge after Hewlett-Packard splits. Reports of an EMC-HP merger surfaced earlier this year, but the companies were just too bulky to pull it off. HP's split into two parts allows for more agility as well as better corporate options. EMC and HP could make sense.
  • Oracle's acquisition strategy falters and restructuring ensues. Oracle has gobbled up cloud companies in recent years, but it's unclear whether those acquired customers stick. That new world acquisition order will force Oracle to restructure and revamp as Wall Street begins to question management setup at the company. The spotlight on Oracle gets brighter as SAP foregoes big acquisitions to focus on organic growth.
  • Amazon spins off Amazon Web Services. AWS will remain an IT all star in 2015, but the competition will ramp up dramatically. Under pressure from Wall Street, Jeff Bezos spins off AWS into its own stock. However, the spin-off is more akin to the EMC-VMware arrangement, but AWS will get a funding and capital base to really go to cloud war. Also see: Amazon's ability to invest in AWS: By the numbers
  • Red Hat buys Cloudera. Red Hat buys Cloudera in a move that solidifies its position in analytics. Culturally, the two open source companies could mesh well. From an art of war perspective, Red Hat's acquisition plays keep away from Oracle, IBM and a long list of other interested parties.
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