WikiLeaks continues to dominate the online conversation in business tech, spurring a brand new trending search term that has both federal and enterprise security experts nervous. Throw in predictions for […]

WikiLeaks continues to dominate the online conversation in business tech, spurring a brand new trending search term that has both federal and enterprise security experts nervous. Throw in predictions for global IT spending growth, Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff's rockstar antics and Google's allegations against Microsoft's new federal cloud contract, and the business tech world had a week of contentious online chatter.

Operation Payback, the organization of "hacktivists" who are attacking WikiLeaks opponents, has emerged as a top search term on the web this week. At press time, "Operation Payback" gets Google Realtime updates each minute.

The organization has publicly declared it is launching distributed denial of service attacks against the websites of major corporations contributing to the persecution of both WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. After successfully shutting down MasterCard's website for cutting off its customers' donations to WikiLeaks, the group declared war on PayPal, Twitter and Visa.

These kinds of security threats have spurred a potentially expensive environment of fear throughout the private sector, according to a survey released this week by Lumension. In the widely circulated and discussed study, 59 percent of respondents said malware is a main driver for rising overall IT expenses.

Security, however, is not the only area in which enterprise IT spending is expected to grow. IDC also made a splash in the business tech industry, predicting $1.6 trillion in IT spending next year, a 5.7 increase from 2010. As many anticipated, mobile technology, social media and cloud computing are all listed among IDC's technologies expected to become mainstream in 2011, and searches for these platforms have spiked, accordingly.

Cloud developers appear too eager to abide by IDC's predictions, with two major players, Microsoft and Google, reportedly bickering over a major federal contract. Shortly after Microsoft announced on Wednesday that it landed the industry's first Cabinet-level cloud contract to provide cloud-based email for 120,000 Department of Agriculture employees, Google heated up online chatter in the industry with a statement emailed to CNET that claimed Google was cut off from attempting to make the USDA an offer.

Adding to Google's troubles this week, tech experts and analysts continued to speculate over Google's deal that never was with Groupon. Last week, an acquisition seemed like a done deal, with VatorNews reporting its "reliable" source claimed Google would purchase the online discount site for $2.5 billion. This week, Groupon rejected the offer in true Facebook fashion. Searchers have been in a frenzy for information about Groupon's decision to remain independent, leaving Google without the tools that would have helped sharpen Google Places.

The news for Google wasn't all bad this week, though. The company appears to be making strides and garnering online attention with its web browser-based Chrome OS. It made headlines for giving out free notebooks with the operating system to select qualified users and developers at certain schools and businesses. The company also opened the Chrome Web Store, inviting developers to create apps compatible with its web browser and operating system, and it announced Google Message Continuity, an archiving and encryption service for Gmail.

In the cloud, though, Salesforce.com was the week's big winner. The company announced a $212 million acquisition of Ruby platform-as-a-service application developer Heroku, formed a strategic partnership with BMC Software to launch its new RemedyForce cloud platform and released its much anticipated cloud-based database tool Database.com. Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff enjoyed his company's productive week by speaking at its Dreamforce 2010 conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, calling competitors such as former employer Oracle "old status quo players" and publicly praising the cloud with Black Eyed Peas rapper and producer will.i.am. The Salesforce.com/will.i.am partnership caught a lot of online attention this week, with searches for the musician's cloud computing promo generating more than 4 million web results.

These big players are likely to keep at it and dominate business IT searches next week, with other competing tech vendors also vying for a piece of the growing enterprise IT market. Keep up on the latest developments and online discussion as the business tech race rages on.

Colin Neagle is a former editor of Brafton's Business Technology section. He studied journalism, writing and mass communications in college, and has experience writing business news for a number of newspapers and online publications.