In 2013, software and IT services firms will have their heads in the clouds. The spread of “cloud computing” will spur investments in flexible, mobile services that are delivered online and charged according to usage. “Big Data” projects will also gather steam as companies in many industries look for insights by sifting through huge volumes of data, a task that requires both whizzy software and bright minds. Global software spending will grow by 6%, almost twice the rate in 2012. IT services will also do well, although growth will be around 3%.
To watch: Something for nothing. In an increasingly crowded market for mobile apps, the “freemium” business model will falter. A tiny fraction of users convert from free to paid versions of apps, so it takes a huge number of downloads to make the economics work, benefiting established brands with marketing muscle. Most developers will either heavily restrict features in free versions of apps or charge outright for downloads.
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