Microsoft faces other threats from free or close-to-free software suites such as IBM's Lotus Symphony and Google Apps' productivity and collaboration applications, will pave the way for the first serious "fissures in the world's largest monopolies," and downward pricing pressure on incumbencies that can charge monopolistic rent," Heintzman said.
Heintzman's hyperbole aside, pundits have been predicting this in the wake of the tear SAAS has been on in 2008, though there is little evidence from Google or IBM to suggest that Microsoft is really feeling this pressure.
Yet it could be that Microsoft hears SAAS on its heels, as the company is beginning to offer its classic on-premise apps online such as Exchange and SharePoint in pay-by-the-drink options through the Web.
Other trends from IBM sees bubbling in 2009, according to Heintzman:
Universal access to collaboration technology on any device will redefine what it means to be "at work" in an increasingly globally distributed workforce. Business-specific applications will begin to enjoy collaborative context the likes of which haven't been seen before.
For example, an agent viewing an insurance report can hover over the name of the agent that took the pictures of a car accidents and ask the question or view the report they submitted. Also, a physician looking at a radiology report I can mouse over a fellow doctor's name and bring them into a discussion about the report or pull data from other sources.
This is, of course, part of what Heintzman said will be an emerging, collaborative mashup of UCC technologies in business.
UCC capabilities on the PC will make the telephone obsolete as unified communications becomes second nature for users, he said.
Advancements in Web conferencing technologies will allow remote offices to communicate and collaborate better than ever before. "The boundary between the phone space and the computing space will dissolve." Heintzman, for example, doesn't use the phone to contact employees without checking if they're free first.
Using the Lotus Sametime Unified Telephony VOIP app, he clicks on someone's contact info and calls them through his PC. The name becomes the universal identifier instead of the phone number. This is no surprise. BT bought VOIP startup Ribbit to cement its VOIP plans while Google added voice and video chat to Gmail.
Social networks, he said, will become more prevalent and useful in the enterprise, with employee skills and interests more easily catalogued, helping employers find the perfect fit for projects and assignments. Every self-respecting social network will have a Twitter-like tool, one assumes.
Also, Web browser apps will be huge, thanks to Microsoft Silverlight, Adobe Air and efforts such as IBM's browser-based Blue Spruce video collaboration app, which eWEEK saw in action last month.