Looking Back -- and Forward to a Better Year

This will be better year than 2010 was, both for IT and tech products

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For computer technology, 2010 wasn't real eventful.

Sure, it was the year of the iPad and all the tablets that followed. The consumerization of IT marches on. The advent of the tablet as a viable form factor could have far-ranging effects on IT, but last year all it really amounted to was just another successful Apple launch. 2010 also saw China become the country with the fastest supercomputers on earth. And Stuxnet proved not only that worms are still relevant, but that they can be used to attack industry, which makes them a means of waging war.

With Windows 7, Microsoft showed that it can still build a reasonably good desktop operating system, garnering solid sales and adoption numbers. But its inability to set the world on fire with its mobile platforms is an ongoing problem.

Hewlett-Packard's ouster of Mark Hurd demonstrated once again that the IT industry hasn't lost its capacity to stun and amaze onlookers. It wasn't all that long ago that HP was a garage start-up.

2010 was the year that WikiLeaks demonstrated that it's more focused on self-aggrandizement and being the news than on unearthing it. Finally, the elephant in the room: The economy didn't get worse in 2010. It even started to perk up in the fourth quarter. But, probably because of the economy, 2010 was a transitional year. Not a heckuva lot of IT milestones swept by.

As for 2011, I'll go out on a limb. The tea leaves tell me that this will be a much better year economically and more exciting for both IT business and products. Also, I expect the trend toward mergers and acquisitions to continue apace -- that's just what happens after a major recession. Most successful businesses are flush with cash, and they're ready to put that money back in play -- a solid indicator that the economy is looking up. The result of this M&A activity will be new products in the marketplace: As smaller companies that have good technology but not the wherewithal to bring it to market get gobbled up, their products will get pushed out the door.

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