IDC Sees Tech Spending Slowing in 2008

As part of its annual predictions for the upcoming year, market researcher IDC reported that growth in global technology spending is expected to slow down in 2008 as IT shops cut back on purchasing, particularly hardware.

According to the report, technology spending growth worldwide will range between 5.5 and 6 percent in 2008, down from 2007's 7 percent growth. U.S. spending growth will also fall, going from 6.6 percent this year to 4 percent next year.

Consequently, many hardware and software vendors will be pursuing emerging markets along with small and medium businesses (SMBs) in an attempt to compensate for the slower spending growth in the U.S. Some of the larger vendors will also become more aggressive in their acquisitions strategies in the more promising sectors, IDC predicted.

Some of the emerging markets where IDC sees the most potential include the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China), along with nine other countries including Poland and Mexico where they growth is expected to average around 16 percent.

Peering into the future in other areas, IDC said Google could further bolster its position as the leader in Web-based search in the SMB markets by acquiring either Salesforce.com or Intuit, or both.

"Google wants a beachhead into the small, medium-sized business market," said Frank Gens, IDC's senior vice president of research, who said he expects SMBs to increase spending by 8 to 10 percent in 2008.

Getting Down to the Short Strokes with Vista
Microsoft officials confirmed yesterday they will make the release candidate test build of Windows Vista SP1 available to the general public some time next week. The company also made SP1 code available (through Microsoft Connect) to the 15,000 testers who were offered the release candidate preview.

Today, Microsoft will make the code of Vista RC1 available to its Microsoft Developer Network and TechNet. Redmond still plans to deliver the SP1 by the end of next year's first quarter.

The focus of SP1 will be a raft of security, reliability and performance fixes, updates that company officials promise will not render applications incompatible to the extent that Windows XP SP2 did three years ago.

I guess that's supposed to make us feel better about SP1. If it does, it'll be about the only thing. Don't expect a stampede of IT shops to now decide it's OK to switch to Vista because the first service pack has been delivered. SP1 hasn't exactly set the world afire.

One good thing about SP1 is that company officials claim to have significantly cut down the size of the standalone installation packages for Vista SP1 since this past summer. The installer package has been cut down between 37 percent (for the five-language pack) to 58 percent (for the version taking in all languages). Redmond officials also add that they've significantly reduced the amount of disk space SP1 requires.

And Speaking of Release Candidates...
Microsoft also took a big step toward finally making Windows Server 2008 a reality by making RC1 of the product available for download. You can download it here.

There figures to be another release candidate delivered between now and the scheduled "Heroes Happen Here" launch of the finished product on Feb. 27, 2008, but Microsoft officials won't say for sure. The theme of formal launch, to be held in Los Angeles, is focused on celebrating the "incredible work" IT pros have done in order to deliver "heroic results" to their organizations. The company claims that, so far, 1.8 million customers have downloaded evaluation code of the product.

New enhancements to RC1 include those made to Group Policy with Group Policy Preferences, formerly known as PolicyMaker Standard Edition and Policy Share Manager. Microsoft will make Group Policy Preferences available to IT shops in two ways: integrating it into Group Policy management tools in Windows Server 2008, and integrating it into the upcoming Remote Server Administration Tools for Windows Vista.

Also, the client-side extensions for group Policy Preferences are included in Windows Server 2008, and down-level versions can be downloaded separately for Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista RTM and Windows Server 2003 SP1 and later.

Mailbag: Do You Dell?
Lafe reported yesterday on Dell's plan to continue its buyback program after suspending it in light of an accounting debacle. That hasn't stopped this reader from buying Dell, though:

Ninety-nine percent of our desktops and laptops are Dells (we have one user who will only use Toshiba laptops). And all of our servers are IBM because of IBM's Matching Grants program which gives $3 in equipment for every $1 in donations to a school.

Dell's financial hurdles have never affected my purchasing. I am only concerned about the low cost of its computers.
-Nicholaus

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to escannell@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Ed Scannell is the editor of Redmond magazine.

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