Wireless LANs, Linux, and messaging are all poised to make important gains in the year ahead. Meanwhile, project-based IT services and 64-bit computing will face ongoing challenges in 2003. These are just a few of the prognostications from IDC.

“We expect to see a return to spending growth in 2003 in both the IT and telecommunications sectors,” says John Gantz, chief research officer at IDC. “However, these gains will not lift all sectors of the industry equally. Hardware spending and wireless services will benefit the most from increased spending over the near term, while IT consulting will continue to languish. Moreover, IDC expects overall technology spending growth to remain in the single digits for the foreseeable future. This is a significant departure from the double digit growth characterizing much of the last decade and will force technology providers to rethink their market strategies.”

Gantz presented IDC’s predictions for 2003 in a recent client telebriefing. The company’s predictions are:

  • Worldwide spending for information technology and telecommunications will hit $1.9 trillion in 2003.
  • The mid-range server market will return to positive growth, following two years of decline. Despite this recovery, the market will still be 20 percent smaller than it was in 2000.
  • Adoption of 64-bit computing will be slow and vendor driven. IDC does not expect to see full 64-bit use in commercial applications until later in the decade.
  • Linux will continue to gain ground on UNIX, particularly in competition with RISC-based UNIX systems.
  • Project-based IT services will be flat or down again in 2003 as companies focus on smaller, short-term projects and managed services.
  • Wireless LANs will take off, presenting another hurdle to the rollout of 3G services.
  • Capital expenditures by telecommunications companies will drop by at least 5 percent worldwide, although spending in emerging markets and wireless services will continue to grow significantly.
  • The use of online messaging will continue to surge, approaching 40 billion e-mails per day, but productivity will suffer as workers struggle to manage the flood of messages.
  • By the end of the year, digital images captured per day by scanners, cameras and devices will surpass the number of images captured on film, but the industry will still center on film.
  • There will be a major cyberterrorism event brought on by the war in Iraq and creating short-term economic disruptions.

Also on IDC’s radar screen for the coming months are: a gradual recovery for the semiconductor sector in the second half of the year; grid computing, which is poised to replace Web services as the most hyped new technology; continuing battles over digital media rights; Standard Intel Architecture Server (SIAS) market will continue to make gains; and offshore outsourcing will become de rigueur for services firms.
In addition, IDC expects a number of significant milestones to be passed over the course of the next 12 months. By the end of the year, there will be more than 600 million PCs and 1.5 billion cellular phones installed worldwide. There will be more than 700 million Internet users, 250 million mobile Internet users and over 80 million broadband households worldwide. And more than 1 billion e-mail boxes will have been created by the end of 2003.

IDC’s Predictions 2003 are based on input and review from more than 700 analysts worldwide. In addition, IDC surveyed nearly 1000 IT and business executives about their IT spending expectations for 2003 as part of its annual Project Barometer. This information is collected and used to create and refine IDC’s vision for the coming year.

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