It’s hard to tell if it’s a running joke or if its time has come.

IDC Canada released its predictions for the Canadian IT industry and, once again, Linux is being touted to have a breakthrough year.

“”We see Linux as having

a breakout year along with the open source software movement becoming more business-ready. Linux, we believe, is here stay,”” said Vito Mabrucco, group vice-president products and services research for the Toronto-based research company during a Webcast Wednesday.

“”In Canada we see the Linux growth rate of over 30 per cent to year 2005, and by 2005 nine per cent of all Canadian server revenues will be associated with Linux,”” he said.

While this is a familiar refrain to many, Mabrucco said a number of factors make this year different. For one thing, Linux proved its character by not being wiped out in the downturn. Secondly, its suitability has been proven in the service provider space. Finally, adoption in Asia/Pacific and Latin America is driving growth.

Mabrucco said the software and services will be the areas to watch in 2002 and will help spur an IT rebound mid-year. Hardware, in his opinion, won’t be as lucky.

“”Services, as a percentage of the IT market, are going from 43 per cent to 47 per cent in 2003, software is going from 20 to 22 per cent and hardware is declining from 37 to 31 per cent,”” Mabrucco said. “”So by the end of this scenario of 2003, software and service make more than two-thirds of the total market.””

There is one bright spot on the hardware side. Mabrucco says people are realizing servers can be replaced much more easily than data and is a key component of any vendor’s plans.

Outsourcing will continue to be a popular service, though IDC Canada analyst Jason Bremner said the model is changing.

“”We’re going to see the traditional form of outsourcing and the IT utility. Traditional outsourcing will be custom engagements where IT utility will be standardized services,”” Bremner said. “”The IT utility becomes an option for business who no longer want to build and own their own computing or communications infrastructure and instead prefer to purchase it on a service basis.””

On the telecom side, IDC analyst Warren Chaisastien said the broadband market slowed in the third quarter last year, thanks in part to rising prices. He said it is forecasting that prices will stabilize this year and begin to decline by 2005.

Other predictions include:

  • Cell phone users will double to 22 million in 2005.
  • The number of unique Internet users will go form about 20 to 25 million by 2005.
  • Those purchasing goods or services over the Internet will almost double to 13.7 million by 2005.
  • Mobile Internet users will jump from two to eight million by 2005.


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