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Look ahead 2015

10 predictions for IT in 2015

If I am right, this will be a tough year for tech and everyone else.

new years eve fireworks
Credit: Tom Bricker

With the year coming to a close, a lot of people are making their predictions for 2015. So naturally I had to join the party. A whole lot of issues seem to be coming to a head and will need to be addressed in the next year, and I think it will happen all at once. So heed the words of Patridamus.

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1) Wearables continue to tank

This is yet another case of the industry looking for new growth opportunities and a chance to expand by driving something the public doesn't really want. People don't want another device to carry or remember to wear, they are often inaccurate, and the newness wears off quickly and they get tossed in the drawer.

2) IoT proves a hard sell

Take what I said above and multiply it by 10. I don't know anyone screaming for an Internet-connected refrigerator. Then again, Steve Jobs did famously say “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” But with concerns about privacy by government and corporate snooping, security from all the hacks and general public tech illiteracy (the Silicon Valley is so myopic about this), IoT will be a hard sell.

3) BYOD chickens come home to roost

Many firms established BYOD rules when the trend first began, and they never revisited them. Eventually, there will be a reckoning where companies have to set down rules concerning data security and loss prevention, not to mention who pays the bills. It's only a matter of time before we get stories of employees giving up on BYOD and telling their boss to just provide a device.

4) Stock market crash and burn

The stock market has been going gangbusters, but it won't last. Every seven years, the stock market melts down like Chernobyl. We all remember 2008, and the recent "Cromnibus" budget deal in Washington has set us up for a repeat. In 2001, it hit the skids due to the Dot Bomb crash and 9/11. In 1994, the bond market went into the toilet. And in 1987 we had Black Monday with the massive sell-off. And if you don't believe me, maybe this guy's words will carry weight.

5) AMD finally bottoms out, Qualcomm acquires it for IP protection

AMD is in a real tough spot. Its CEO change caused a collapse in confidence and stock, neither of which has bounced back. Nvidia is gaining market share and is now over 70%, according to Jon Peddie Research. There are hints of big things to come but nothing concrete, and the company has been through endless rounds of layoffs.

Nvidia wouldn't be allowed to buy the company, unless it was torn in half and it got the x86 business (and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has repeatedly said he doesn't want an x86 business), with the GPU side going to Intel. A more likely outcome is Qualcomm grabbing the company primarily for IP protection against Intel.

6) IT continues to dump its own data centers in favor of the cloud

The trend of shutting down an on-premises data center in favor of a cloud solution has been going on for some time, but it will take off in 2015 for one very good reason – Windows Server 2003 is reaching its end of life and there are 10 million 2003 server installations out there that need upgrading. Many companies may decide it's easier to move to the cloud than buy new servers and go through a rip-and-replace routine.

7) Windows 10 is a hit, mostly

Windows 10 seems to have a lot of warm and fuzzy feelings around it, and it will likely revive PC sales, especially in the enterprise. The only thing that will mute Windows 10 at this point is declining interest in PCs. If the trend toward tablets as PC replacements continues, well, there's nothing Microsoft can do about that except get the tablet experience right, which it seems to have done with Surface 3.

8) Big Data's growth will be hampered by talent shortages

Big Data is an important new trend in tech, but it's also a significant change in how computer science is done. It requires people with specialized, advanced degrees, and there are not a lot of them on the market. In fact, there have been repeated predictions of talent shortages of data scientists and other people to make Big Data work. The people who have that kind of experience, however, will make some serious money.

9) Tablets will crash and burn

Tablet sales are already slowing down and the trend likely won't reverse in 2015. Some experiments have failed, like the Los Angeles Unified School District's $1.3 billion tablet boondoggle. I expect as the batteries start to die on these things and they are not replaceable, that will also hurt. The main problem, though, is that tablets don't have an advocate. Steve Jobs was the big champion of the tablet and no one has stepped forward to take up the mantle.

10) MMOs start dying off

My one consumer prediction. For some time now, every game company and a whole bunch of startups had massively multiplayer online games in the works. Then they all started failing. "Star Wars: The Old Republic," "Final Fantasy XIV," and "Elder Scrolls Online" all bombed recently, and when an "Elder Scrolls" game bombs, that's a big warning. Many other MMOs have faded into nothing. And Blizzard killed its MMO codenamed "Titan" after seven years of R&D. The reality is these games demand too much time and people who play them frequently suffer from health problems for their addictions.

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