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SaaS, netbooks and smartphones bright spots for 2009

Microscope contributor


At this time each year I am often asked about my predictions for the coming 12 months. While the current economic crisis makes this forecasting exercise more difficult this time around, I have compiled a list of five predictions that I believe will happen in 2009.

1. Faster adoption of SaaS
The economic crisis will drive enterprises and SMEs towards a faster adoption of software as a service (SaaS). With budgets being slashed, IT managers who have been hesitant to move client server applications to online solutions will be forced to make this transition faster than planned and even some big corporations will be forced down this path.

This makes applications such as Salesforce.com and others aimed at the enterprise and SMEs hot properties in the coming year.

2. Server sales on the up

Sales for hosting online applications within corporate firewalls will continue to be strong. Major service organisations such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Dell could see their businesses rise as they employ data-protected servers for hosting online IT applications as well.

3. Netbooks really take off

People want cheaper laptops and ones that provide more mobility. About 18 million netbooks were sold in 2008 and at least another 30 million or so are expected to be sold worldwide in 2009.
 
However, these products have driven down the average selling price of more traditional laptops, so we are now seeing full-powered laptops in the same price range as netbooks.

Consequently, users will be faced with a choice between mobility and full-powered functionality when purchasing new notebooks in 2009.

4. Smartphones grab a share
By 2015, smartphones will represent 65% of all mobile phones sold
globally.

In the early part of 2008 sales of mobile phones and smartphones grew, but under the worsening economic climate sales seemed to stall in the latter part of the year.

However, mobile phones have become indispensable tools and in the next 12 months, smartphones such as the Apple iPhone and the Blackberry Storm will gain a stronger foothold in the US and Europe.

5. Windows 7 gives tech a lift

While sales of PCs and other technology-related items will be down in the first half of 2009, I believe that if Microsoft is able to deliver Windows 7 by the third quarter, as many expect, it could be the catalyst to help jump-start the technology economy.
 
Businesses and consumers see Windows 7 as a “new” OS, which could drive them to make new PC and notebook purchases by the fourth quarter. While this might be wishful thinking, in the past when Microsoft delivered new operating systems for mass consumption, it caused sales of PCs and notebooks to accelerate dramatically for a period of 24 months. Let’s hope history repeats itself.

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