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Blogging is set to peak next year according to a new forecast which also predicts two-thirds of firms are likely to be infected by financially motivated malware.

According to Gartner, blogging is set to reach its zenith during the first half of next year when the number of active blogs will level out at around 100m.

In November, blog tracker Technorati revealed that 100,000 new online journals, known as web logs or blogs, are being created every day, with 1.3m posts blogged daily. However, Gartner predicts the blogging boom may be close to ending as over 200m individuals have already given up on the activity.

The predictions come in a new report from Gartner which also claims that by 2010, the total cost of ownership (TCO) of new PCs will fall by 50 per cent.

Elsewhere in its top ten predictions for 2007 and beyond, Gartner claims the arrival of automated malware-generation kits which facilitate the creation of thousands of nasty viral variants, will lead to increased attacks on businesses. Researchers estimate by the end of next year 75 per cent of enterprises will be infected with undetected, financially motivated, and targeted malware that can evade firms' traditional perimeter and host defenses.

As if that wasn't worrying enough for enterprises, Gartner further warns that companies are missing out on opportunities to build networks that could put them at a competitive advantage. Instead, they follow outdated design practices and collectively will waste at least $100bn in the next five years.

Gartner forecasts that through to 2009, market share for the top 10 IT oursourcers will decline from 43.5 per cent to 40 per cent - equivalent to a loss of $5.4bn. A number of IT outsourcing firms are expected to bite the bullet due to a decreasing number of contracts available, increasing competition and a reduction in contract sizes.

Moreover, in a worrying development for private citizens, Gartner claims that 60 per cent of the worldwide mobile phone-owning population will be "trackable" via an emerging "follow-me internet" by 2010. The analysts state that while local regulations have arisen to protect users' privacy, growing demands for national safety and civil protection are relaxing some of the initial privacy limitations. Also, mobile phone owners will be increasingly tempted to forgo privacy concerns in order to take advantage of marketing incentives.

Lastly, Gartner predicts Vista will be the last major Windows release by Microsoft; the era of monolithic deployments of software releases is nearing an end.

"Selected from across our research areas as the most compelling and critical predictions, the trends and topics they address this year indicate that priorities, markets, cultures and technologies are all rapidly changing," said Daryl Plummer, managing vice president at Gartner.

"These changes will require that IT and business change their approach to delivering and quantifying value. IT professionals must examine these predictions for opportunities to increase their support of consumer-driven requirements and their ability to help Business deliver stronger services to those customers," he added.

Copyright © 2006, ENN

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