Interesting news from Gartner last week. According to the research firm, cloud computing now leads the list of the top 10 strategic technologies for 2010.

That may come as a surprise to some, but it’s consistent with what industry observers have been saying recently. It was Gartner that earlier this year predicted that cloud services revenue will surpass $54.3 billion (U.S.) in 2009, while IDC said in March that avoiding the cloud “won’t really be an option” five years from now.

Looks like cloud computing has jumped the shark – and in a good way.

Clearly, there’s a more receptive audience for it, and that’s why PDC09 is so timely. The next 12 months are a critical time for developers. Many of the technologies that were once talked about as part of our vision are now tangible tools and services. The Windows Azure Community Technology Preview is available today to anyone who’s interested, Windows 7 is now officially launched, and the public beta of SharePoint 2010 is set for November.

The ingredients of a world where software and services become one and the same are there, and now we’re seeing the trigger. Business expectations are growing. It’s up to developers to begin building the next wave of software that can live on premise or as a service – solutions that are flexible to meet the demand of people who want to move seamlessly between offline and online environments.

It’s going to be an interesting 12 months.