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Everyone else is predicting stuff for 2010 - so here's my take: six predictions you can hold me to in 12 months' time.1.
Written by Manek Dubash, Contributor

Everyone else is predicting stuff for 2010 - so here's my take: six predictions you can hold me to in 12 months' time.

1.Google will buy more companies as corporate values continue to plateau in a flat-lining world economy. It'll be especially interested in companies providing browser-based applications for the cloud - even more so if the targets develop said applications using W3C-approved standards, as this will make it much easier to integrate them into Google ChromeOS. Google won't be the only technology company to take advantage of a flat economy in order to bolster its position. 2.Still on the Google trail, Chrome - the browser - will continue to gain end-user share but will remain mainly at the enthusiast end. People don't shift browsers easily - it took years for Firefox to make significant inroads into IE. Though cool and fast and all that, Google doesn't - yet - have the critical mass of add-ons and other stuff that people like in their browsers. The trick for Google will be to keep it fast and light while adding features.... 3.Windows 7 will do better than most expect. And by most, I probably mean the most vocal of the Linuxites. Win7 is a big step forward from Vista, from a corporate perspective it carries forward most of the advantages of previous Microsoft OSes, and it's a safe choice. So what if the web's chatterati hate it? So what if it's not the fashionable choice? Most users neither know nor care - and corporate IT departments would be inundated with expensive helpdesk calls if they attempted to, for example, shift people's desktops to Linux. Ain't gonna happen - especially when there's no economic incentive. 4.The laptop market will continue to fragment. We've now got not just desktop replacements, business notebooks and thin 'n' sexy, but netbooks as well as smartphones such as the Nokia N900 that are halfway to netbooks. Is there room for a niche just above that? If Microsoft and Apple think so, both of whom are launching tablets (not of stone) then probably yes. Any size you want, sir or madam, as long as it's mobile. 5.Cloud computing will carry on growing, especially driven by smaller businesses who are latching onto the idea that they don't have to run their infrastructures any more. By and large, they don't have major compliance issues and believe that they're too small to worry over-much about security. They're wrong of course and there will be some high-profile cases where a company loses its data because it presumed its data was being backed up by the cloud provider. They should read the small print very very carefully. Other than that, there's a perfect fit, as long as the hosting companies can get their marketing acts together. 6. IT budgets will remain flat - apart from projects where there's a demonstrable saving in the short term - 12 months or less. This is likely to mean the trend towards server consolidation will continue (oh yeah - tough one, that) but management tools will continue to lag, as the infrastructure ground underneath them keeps shifting - especially to accommodate the growth in M&A activity that will grow in 2010 (see above).

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