Researchers at International Data Corp. say some big battles will be brewing in 2012 in the cloud, mobile and Big Data arenas, so much so that "companies like Microsoft, HP, SAP, RIM, and others -- including Apple -- will face 'crossroads moments' in 2012. By the end of the year, we should have a good idea which vendors will -- and won't -- be among the industry's leaders at the end of the decade," said Frank Gens, senior vice president and chief analyst at IDC in a statement.
IDC's predictions for 2012 included:
• Spending on mobile computing, cloud services, social networking, and big data analytics technologies is growing at about 18% per year and is expected to account for at least 80% of IT spending growth between now and 2020. IDC predicts that 2012 will see some of the first high-stakes battles as companies seek to position themselves for leadership in these critical and fast-growing technology areas.
• Overall, IDC predicts that worldwide IT spending will grow 6.9% year over year to $1.8 trillion in 2012. As much as 20% of this total spending will be driven by smartphones, media tablets, mobile networks, social networking and Big Data analytics.
• 2012 will also be the year of what IDC called "mobile ascendency" as mobile devices surpass PCs in both shipments and spending and mobile apps, with 85 billion downloads, generate more revenue than the mainframe market.
• The mobility market will see heated competition in 2012 as Microsoft joins the crucial battle for dominance in the mobile operating system market and the Kindle Fire challenges the iPad in the media tablet market.
• Cloud competition will heat up as IT's strategic focus shifts from building infrastructure to the creation of application platforms and ecosystems. The battle for enterprise platform dominance is just getting underway with established players like IBM, Microsoft and Oracle facing serious challenges from Amazon, Google, Salesforce.com and VMware. As evidence of this challenge, IDC said it expects Amazon Web Services to exceed $1 billion in cloud services business in 2012 with Google's Enterprise business to follow within 18 months. IDC also expects a merger and acquisition feeding frenzy as these companies seek to gain a competitive edge. Look for Microsoft to buy a content/media cloud, like Netflix, to provide a marketplace for its apps and content. Other prime targets for acquisition include Cloud Application/SaaS companies, like Workday, NetSuite and Taleo, IDC stated.
• IDC said it expects a number of major IT vendors to make "statement" acquisitions in social business while others continue to expand their community platforms. Companies like LinkedIn, Spigit, BrightIdea, Attensity and Lithium are logical acquisition targets for Microsoft, IBM and Oracle.
• Big Data will earn its place as the next "must have" competency in 2012 as the volume of digital content grows to 2.7 zettabytes (ZB), up 48% from 2011. More than 90% of this information will be unstructured (such as images, videos, MP3 files and files based on social media and Web-enabled workloads) -- full of rich information, but challenging to understand and analyze. 2012 is likely to be a busy year for Big Data-driven mergers and acquisitions as large IT vendors seek to acquire additional functionality.
• Mobile data network spending will exceed fixed data network spending for the first time.
• 80% of new commercial enterprise apps will be deployed on cloud platforms.
• 15% of new mobile apps will be based on HTML5 by year's end.
• Vendors from emerging markets, such as Huawei and China Telecom, will make an aggressive push into developed markets, including the U.S.
• The number of intelligent, communicating devices on the network will outnumber traditional computing devices by almost 2 to 1 within next 24 months.