The battle for ownership of the "webtop" will be a key theme for the IT sector in the next year or so, IT industry analyst Richard Holway told delegates at a charity event organised by the Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group earlier this month.
The webtop is the internet-based equivalent of the desktop interface. Google is making much of the running in this area, but Microsoft has woken up to the opportunity, said Holway, and companies such as IBM are likely to enter the market as well.
Other areas set to change the face of the IT industry will be mature web-based applications and ubiquitous digital communications, Holway said.
The coming of age of web-based applications will change the metrics of the software and services scene, with suppliers' revenue shifting from product licensing to advertising, he said.
Holway said anytime, anywhere communications access would become the driver in hardware, software and communications.
He also predicted that the ubiquitous mobile phone would replace everything people carry in their pockets - from keys, identity cards, and coins, to credit cards, passports and, further in the future, medical records.
"The technology sector has gone through many cycles - the PC, the mobile, the internet - where innovation has led to the destabilising or destruction of established businesses," said Holway.
"There are now more 'destructive technologies' around than anytime in the past 10 years. Destructive technologies present great threats to established businesses. But they create fabulous new opportunities too."
"These opportunities will shift revenues radically rather than grow the total size of the technology market. But this means that technology is really starting to look exciting again."