10 predictions for 2010

We see modest economic recovery, e-reader buzz, new faces in old places, lots of mobile news and more ...

Mobile mania

Google will release its own Android phone in an increasingly competitive market. By the end of 2010, more enterprises will embrace iPhone use, although RIM's BlackBerry will still be the platform of choice for companies that have to be more concerned about security issues.

But because "for most mere mortals, you can manage an iPhone reasonably securely," to quote Mort Rosenthal, chairman and CEO of Enterprise Mobile, Apple will increasingly intrude on the enterprise, whether network administrators like that or not. "I think probably the biggest story for the foreseeable future is how enterprises will manage an increasingly diverse market, with a lot of platforms, that meets a threshold of security," says Rosenthal, whose company specializes in mobile-based messaging implementation and business applications use in the enterprise.

"From a user perspective, this is all good, but from an IT perspective this is challenging," he says, predicting -- and we agree -- that 2010 will bring many of those challenges to a head for IT managers.

Oh, and one more prognostication in the mobile realm -- the launch of Windows Mobile 7 will be pushed back to the first quarter of 2011.

And speaking of security

There will be a new "largest ever" data breach involving e-tailers and a major payment processing company. E-readers will give hackers an inviting new target, especially as the devices are opened up to third-party application development.

Meanwhile, we think that Websense Security Labs is making a sound prediction that "2010 will prove once and for all that Macs are not immune to exploits."

We also find ourselves intrigued by the Websense view that botnet gangs will engage in "turf wars."

"In addition, we anticipate more aggressive behavior between different botnet groups including bots with the ability to detect and actively uninstall competitor bots," Websense said

Social networking grows up

This assessment from Foote Partners rings true for us: "Social media may have started out as a fad but it is quickly winning serious corporate converts. The search will intensify in 2010 for IT specialists who can engage audiences in their company's messages, products and services."

We also envision that companies will more actively encourage employees to use Facebook, Twitter and MySpace in those regards, and to focus on the collaborative aspects of social-networking sites. This will, of course, continue to present a security conundrum, but 2010 will be the year that best practices for use of those Internet-based sites take hold.

Online publishers figure a few things out

With e-readers the hot gadget of 2010 (and Apple's entry into that market), revenue-generating models will emerge in online content. The Comcast-NBC Universal deal, which will close next year, is just the beginning of mergers and partnerships in that market. Rival publishers will join forces, particularly in mainstream news media, and by year's end multiple new ventures will emerge that will upset the old carts and usher in -- finally! -- forward thinking. Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. will continue to challenge Google and other aggregators and will lead the way in developing online news and content models, though we are not yet convinced that Murdoch's desire to charge for access to online news across his various holdings is going to pan out.

However, the online news and content landscape will look a lot different at the end of 2010 than it does at the end of 2009. To borrow from Monty Python: It's just a flesh wound! We're not dead yet!

(Chris Kanaracus in Boston, Nancy Gohring in Seattle, James Niccolai in San Francisco and Martyn Williams in Tokyo contributed to this report.)

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