Gartner issues predictions for 2007 and beyond

Analysts foretell falling PC costs, the peak of blogging and a flood of financially motivated malware

Three-quarters of enterprises will become infected with undetected, financially motivated malware next year. Blogging will reach its peak, and Vista will be the last major release of Windows ever, according to Gartner.

These predictions are just a few of those released by analyst group on Wednesday. Whether they will come to pass, we'll have to wait and see. For now, here they are for your stimulation:

• Through 2009, market share for the top 10 IT outsourcers will decline to 40 percent (from 43.5 percent now), equalling a revenue shift of $5.4bn (£2.75bn). As market share declines, some key outsourcing vendors will cease to exist in their current named 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.

• Only one Asia/Pacific-based service provider will make the global top 20 through 2010. The number of global players in consulting that come from Asia is relatively small. This will limit the ability of the Asian juggernaut to grow revenue streams rapidly and become global leaders.

• Blogging and community contributors will peak in the first half of 2007. Given the trend in the average life span of a blogger and the current growth rate of blogs, there are already more than 200 million ex-bloggers. Consequently, the peak number of bloggers will be around 100 million at some point in the first half of 2007.

• By 2009, corporate social responsibility (CSR) will be a higher board- and executive-level priority than regulatory compliance. Regulation has become a key issue for government and the corporate world, with the aim of ensuring more-responsible behaviour. However, the need for companies to be socially responsible to their employees, customers and shareholders is growing as well. The future will see corporate boards and executives make this social dynamic a more critical priority.

• By the end of 2007, 75 percent of enterprises will be infected with undetected, financially motivated, targeted malware that evaded their traditional perimeter and host defences. 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.

• Vista will be the last major release of Microsoft Windows. The next generation of operating environments will be more modular and will be updated incrementally. The era of monolithic deployments of software releases is nearing an end. Microsoft will be a visible player in this movement, and the result will be more-flexible updates to Windows and a new focus on quality overall.

• By 2010, the average total cost of ownership (TCO) of new PCs will fall by 50 percent. The growing importance and focus on manageability, automation and reliability will provide a welcome means of differentiating PCs in a market that is increasingly commoditised. Many of the manageability and support tools will be broadly available across multiple vendors. 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 the worldwide cellular population will be "trackable" via an emerging "follow-me internet". Local regulations have arisen to protect users' privacy, but growing demands for national safety and civil protection are relaxing some of the initial privacy limitations. Marketing incentives will also push users to forgo privacy concerns, and many other scenarios will enable outsiders to track their users.

• Through 2011, enterprises will waste $100bn buying the wrong networking technologies and services. Enterprises are missing out on opportunities to build a network that would put them at a competitive advantage. Instead, they follow outdated design practices and collectively will waste at least $100bn in the next five years.

• By 2008, nearly 50 percent of data centres worldwide will lack the necessary power and cooling capacity to support high-density equipment. With higher densities of processors proliferating, problems in this area continue to grow. 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.