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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

February 25, 2010 at 3:31 PM

GSC: Technology predictions from analyst Sarah Friar

SAN FRANCISCO — Goldman Sachs analyst Sarah Friar, who covers Microsoft, took the podium on Thursday at the financial institution’s technology conference to talk about trends in the software industry.

Four trends Friar pointed to:

Large enterprise tech spending rebounds. Large corporations will begin upgrading PCs to Windows 7 in 2010, she said, pointing to comments made during the conference by Intel and Microsoft. Intel predicts the notebook market will grow 20 percent this year. Friar also said there may be some improved spending among small and medium-sized businesses. Intuit, a financial software company that presented on Tuesday, said it is starting to see hiring in small businesses.

Software as a service. “The unstoppable shift to SaaS is clearly something you are going to hear a lot more from us,” she said. “I’m amazed by how many SaaS companies are starting. … All are getting to $40M to $50M revenue relatively quickly.” Software as a service essentially refers to cloud computing, in which businesses use applications on demand. Those programs operate from and are stored in servers.

Desktop virtualization. Friar expects desktop virtualization to reach an inflection point in 2010. The technology stores a PC’s operating system and other software on a server, and the PC user connects to it through the Internet or corporate intranet. Goldman Sachs itself has moved many of its employees to the technology.

More consolidation. “M&A likely on the rise,” she said, referring to mergers and acquisitions.

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