Ferris 2009 Predictions: Immortalility, Mobility, and Staying Put

Here are our predictions for 2009, focusing on the worlds of messaging and collaboration, content control, archiving, compliance, e-discovery, and data leak prevention.

Top Three Predictions: Consensus View. There's a consensus among us that:

  • Spam's being beaten.
  • Messaging SaaS will take off.
  • Virtual meetings will continue to grow in popularity.

Top Three Predictions: Our Individual Views. Here are our individual predictions.

David Ferris:

  • Many babies born in 2009 onwards will be immortal. They will leave so many electronic traces of their personalities and activities that people many generations hence will be able to know them intimately.
  • Company valuations will lower. This is because there will be more equity on sale, caused by the greater difficulty in obtaining loans. There will be more fire sales in which companies get sold for an undisclosed amount.
  • There will be a great upsurge of interest among businesses in hosted messaging offerings. This will be stimulated by Microsoft's SaaS versions of its messaging and collaboration offerings. There will also be strong interest in third-party offerings, especially those of Google and Cisco. As a result, Microsoft will start to experience more competition in the messaging space.

Richi Jennings:

  • There will be less spam from traditional sources. Legal action will continue to dissuade hard-core spammers, accelerating a slow trend. The Obama administration will also give the FTC more teeth, although not necessarily in 2009.
  • There will be more spam from atypical sources. Because of the recession, plenty of marketers will cross the line into spamming (e.g., list repurposing, stealing contact lists from previous employers, conveniently "losing" unsubscribe requests).
  • The Open Handset Alliance's Android platform will power phones that are more compelling than 2008's T-Mobile G1. We'll also see the platform powering larger devices that break the "phone" form-factor mold, such as tablets designed for surfing on the couch--typified today by the Nokia N770/N800/N810 line.

Steve Kille:

  • 2009 will be the year when it is generally recognized that spam has been beaten. Legal actions against spammers, and enforcement against botnets, will relegate spam control to a minor issue. Observations:
    • Since the spam system close-down, spam levels have continued to fall overall.
    • Spammers are making fewer efforts to avoid detection.
  • The battle for the mobile platform will shift strongly to software, although this will not be so visible to users. There will be a small number of players: Symbian/Nokia, Microsoft, RIM, Apple, and Google/Android. There will be no clear winner, but Apple will make major gains because:
    • Falling prices will increase the addressable consumer and commercial markets.
    • The iPod/iTunes synergy will be powerful.
    • High-functionality software is provided, with a clear vision of consumer and commercial requirements.
  • IM and presence integration with email clients will improve, and become an increasing expectation. This will, in turn, increase demand for unified IM, and XMPP-based systems will grow as a consequence.

David Sengupta:

  • Economic conditions will act as a catalyst driving many companies to seek travel operating expense reductions through mandated purchase and deployment of videoconferencing solutions, notably Microsoft Office Communications Server and Cisco WebEx.
  • Economic conditions will drive customers to outsource IT operations, starting with email, to the larger SaaS vendors, notably Microsoft Exchange Online and, yes, Google. This has already begun with smaller companies, but numerous large and very large companies will surprise the market by deciding to follow suit in 2009.
  • Green IT, already playing a significant role in Europe, will become a major factor in IT purchasing decisions in North America by year-end 2009. Green IT proponents will take advantage of the poor economy to drive home the cost-savings advantages.

Nick Shelness:

  • There will be little change in 2009 in messaging and collaboration, in large part because there will be big clamp-downs on spending.

Bob Spurzem:

  • Microsoft Exchange 2007 will dominate enterprise messaging (again), rendering Notes and GroupWise for all purposes dead.
  • E-discovery will be the number one market driver for customers to archive their email.
  • Microsoft will add email archiving to its next major release of Exchange, due in late 2009 or 2010.

Other Predictions/Comments

David Ferris:

  • Virtual meetings. The popularity of Internet-based virtual meetings, in lieu of in-person ones requiring expensive travel costs, will continue to increase. Starting in 2009, businesspeople will commonly make more calls via a PC interface, rather than using a conventional phone.
  • Regulations compliance, content control, and search. There will be reduced pressure to comply with regulations. Content control as an industry niche will be out of fashion, with much less industry discussion and investment. The revenues just haven't appeared, and the main source of funding--financial services--is in turmoil. The uncomfortable schism between email and other stores for archiving and search purposes will continue.

Richi Jennings:

  • In 2009, spam botnet techniques that negate the usefulness of greylisting and naive port-25 blocking will be mainstream.
  • Because of the recession, more spam filtering companies will fail. The long-foreseen market consolidation will finally happen. As many as 100 smaller vendors will cease operations or be acquired for nominal sums.
  • Nova, Palm's new smartphone platform, will finally be ready after several years of delays and false starts. Elevation Partners' $100 million investment will give the company enough air cover to get Nova-powered devices into the market. Unfortunately, the competition has moved on, so the devices won't have mass appeal. But there will at least be a niche market of hard-core Palm lovers who buy the devices.

Steve Kille:

  • A wish for 2009. The competition for browsers--IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Chrome--has been very healthy. Microsoft Outlook has had no effective competition, and this is a major problem for progress with online communication. Email and related communication would really benefit from a serious competitor.

David Sengupta:

  • As smaller vendors struggle with the economy and with getting credit, many will close their doors or be acquired by larger players.
  • E-discovery costs will continue to rise, with few on-premise e-discovery vendors on the market. The shift from outsourced e-discovery to in-house e-discovery will continue to gain momentum, and come to a head in 2010.
  • Amazon will continue to be a company to watch. It understands the value of SaaS better than most.

Bob Spurzem:

  • Enterprise customers will consolidate Exchange servers to a single location when they upgrade to Exchange 2007.

Predictions/Comments on What Won't Happen

David Ferris:

  • Microsoft will continue to announce the death of Notes/Domino; Notes/Domino will continue to maintain its strong, sticky presence.

David Sengupta:

Bob Spurzem:

  • Enterprise customers will not move to hosted email any time soon, in favor of in-house email servers.

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