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3 IT predictions for 2021

While calendar dates are arbitrary markers of world history, it’s safe to say that many readers are savoring this New Year’s as a symbolic turning point for the pandemic-fueled challenges of 2020.

Those challenges have changed the shape of the global workplace — scattering knowledge workers to home offices and taxing systems from supply chains to security infrastructures — and pressed enterprise IT to adapt at historic speeds.

And while a new wave of vaccines offers new hope for an end to the current crisis, the changes wrought in 2020 will continue to inform major IT trends in 2021.

Here are three trends to look out for in the coming year.

High times for desktops and laptops. As Reuters reports, the distributed workplaces of 2020 kicked off a PC buying spree not seen since the debut of the iPhone in 2007. Not only will the sector continue to sizzle through 2021, analysts report, demand will overwhelm the supply chain at least until 2022.

An arms race for remote collaboration. As we’ve reported throughout the year, Microsoft has invested vast energy on extending the collaboration capabilities of Teams throughout its enterprise software offerings. Now the battle has been joined by another enterprise software giant: Salesforce, which is buying rival collaboration platform Slack with explicit plans to fold it into its own formidable software arsenal. Stay tuned for a battle royal that increases the pace of collaboration innovation.

A new wave of antitrust intrigue. The physical isolation of the pandemic has turned up the heat even higher under social media — and focused new government attention on the scope of acquisitive corporate titans like Facebook and Google. For the past decade, Microsoft has largely steered clear of lawsuits accusing it of monopolistic practices. Now it’s younger tech companies’ turn in the hot seat; expect new constraints on their power in 2021.