"In last year's predictions, we talked about how a slow global economy would act like a pressure cooker on the IT market, speeding the development and adoption of new technologies and business models," said Frank Gens, IDC's chief analyst, in a statement. "What's different about 2010 is that the economic recovery will release some of the pressure on spending, enabling a number of transformational tipping points to be reached in a year of economic upswing." There have already been signs that IT spending is bouncing back, with some of tech's biggest names reaping the benefits. Tech bellwether IBM ( IBM ) recently posted strong third quarter results and rival Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ) has predicted a return to growth in 2010. Set against this backdrop, IDC expects that 2010 will be a big year for cloud computing, marked by the emergence of "enterprise-grade" cloud services. Cloud services, which typically offer compute power or data storage via the Internet, have been gaining momentum, with companies such as Amazon ( AMZN), Microsoft ( MSFT) and Verizon pushing the technology. Though in its infancy, cloud technology is expected to mature in 2010. IBM, for example, claims to be breaking new ground with the recent launch of its Smart Analytics Cloud, a set of technologies for firms that want to compile multiple sources of information within their organization. IDC predicts that a battle will unfold around cloud application platforms, which the analyst firm describes as "the most strategic real estate in the cloud for the next 20 years." There could also be opportunities for public clouds, exemplified by Amazon's S3 storage service, as well as private clouds where companies offer Web-based services within their own organization. Cloud appliances, hybrid cloud management tools and cloud APIs will all play a big role next year, according to the analyst firm.