by Diann Daniel

Outlook Bright for Macs, Mobile and Open Source, Gartner Predicts

Feb 01, 20084 mins
AppleIT LeadershipOpen Source

Gartner's crystal ball for next three years: Apple gains 50 percent market share, Green IT flowers and consumer tools gain even more influence.

What will the biggest technology changes be for the next three years? By 2012, consultancy and research firm Gartner predicts a groundswell for open source, Apple products, new mobile technologies and green IT. It’s a vision of the future that Microsoft won’t love.

While cautioning that some trends will take longer to materialize than others, Gartner warns businesses not to ignore the potential of issues such as open source and cloud computing to change life for IT groups and the businesses they serve.

“These areas of focus imply a significant groundswell of change that may in turn change the entire industry,” said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president and Gartner Fellow, in the company’s press release.

Of Gartner’s 100 predictions, here are the 10 that top the list:


1. Apple Grows More Powerful

Apple will have doubled its computer market share by 2011, Gartner predicts. Contributing factors: Apple’s software integration; frequent innovations; interoperability across multiple devices—and the failure of the rest of the industry to make similar innovations.

2. Pocketable Internet Takes Off

By 2012, 50 percent of traveling workers will ditch notebooks for new products such as inexpensive new classes of Internet-centric pocketable devices, Gartner predicts. Users will demand the ability to create a preferred work environment across multiple locations.

Open-source technology will be a component of 80 percent of all commercial software by 2012, Gartner predicts. Why? Lower total cost of ownership and increased ROI for both users and vendors. Gartner says that to stay competitive, most large software vendors will at minimum need to create embedded open source strategies.

4. SaaS Gains Traction

At least one-third of what businesses spend on application software will be service subscriptions rather than product licenses, by 2012. The growth will be fueled in part by the endorsement of leading applications vendors of the SaaS model, Gartner says.

5. SOA Enables Growth of Cloud Computing

By 2011, early technology adopters will buy 40 percent of their IT infrastructure as a service. High-speed bandwidth will enable infrastructure located offsite to deliver fast response times, and service-oriented architecture will give rise to increased popularity of “cloud computing.” Gartner recommends that IT buyers should strengthen their purchasing and sourcing departments to evaluate new offerings.

6. Green IT Flowers

Green IT will gain traction by 2009: In a year, environmental criteria will rank among the top six buying criteria for determining IT spend, motivated at first by a move to contain costs, Gartner predicts. Much potential exists to improve the environmental footprint without higher price or lower performance.

7. New Hot Spec: Carbon Footprint

Energy and CO2 footprint will top PC buying criteria for 75 percent of organizations by 2010, Gartner predicts. Currently, most technology providers don’t know their products’ full life cycle energy and CO2 footprints, but some are beginning to assess such information. Most vendors will use their findings to differentiate their products beginning in 2009, Gartner says.

Image evoking profit through green technology

8. Green Hits the Supply Chain

“Green” will become a deal-maker or -breaker by 2011. Within three years suppliers to large global enterprises will have to prove their green credentials via an audited process to retain preferred supplier status. Organizations such organizations as Timberland and Home Depot are making strides: The former has launched a “Green Index” environmental rating for its shoes and boots and the latter is creating ways to evaluate and audit supplier submissions for its new EcoOptions product line.

9. Consumer IT Grows More Powerful

Enterprise IT choices will be determined by end-users, Gartner says. Internet connectivity and the ubiquity of the browser interface has made technology a part of everyday life, and consumers make technology decisions for their home and for business use. IT organizations will increasingly incorporate user decisions in risk analysis and business strategy innovation.

10. 3-D Printing Takes Off

The number of 3-D printers in homes and businesses will increase by 100-fold through 2011 (compared to 2006 levels), Gartner says. These printers enable users to send a file of a 3-D design to a printer-like device that will carve the design out of a block of resin. Printers priced less than $10,000 have been announced for 2008, opening up the personal and hobbyist markets.