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IDC: IT Will Drive Economic Recovery

It's getting better out there, right? Well, with financial markets seemingly recovering and, at the same time, the unemployment rate bumping up on 10 percent here in the U.S., the messages are mixed at best. And we've stopped listening to most of the experts who got so much wrong over the last 10 years or longer and helped get us here in the first place.

Except for these experts. IDC released a study this week saying that IT will create 5.8 million jobs (worldwide) by 2013. Microsoft sponsored the study, which identified IT as a major driver of a global economic recovery. (This, oddly enough, as Steve Ballmer -- and we think quite correctly -- is spreading the messages that IT budgets will be down for a while and that the economy has "reset" and won't return to the levels it reached before the crash of 2008.)

Of course, Ballmer has to walk a fine line here, as part of Microsoft's current pitch to the enterprise is that companies should save money by spending it. In other words, buy a bunch of Microsoft applications, increase efficiency, eliminate costs and end up having a positive effect on the always-trembling bottom line. In that sense, it makes sense for Ballmer to talk about the economy resetting and IT budgets staying relatively low. Plus, that kind of talk will make for a nice built-in excuse if Microsoft reports disappointing quarterly earnings again.

Then again, nobody likes too much negativity, and Ballmer talking too much about an economy that won't fully recover (although, again, we think he's right there -- and he does work the word "reset" into his quote in the AFP story linked above) might scare CEOs, CIOs and other executives into not buying anything from Microsoft at all. So, fortunately for Microsoft (ahem), the Microsoft-sponsored IDC study can spread some good news without directly conflicting Ballmer's message of caution. Well-played all around there.

So, given RCPU's skeptical take on "experts" and their talk about the economy and jobs, do we believe IDC's projections? Well, not really...but we want to, and given that we're not experts ourselves, we'll give the numbers people (IDC does do numbers very well) the benefit of the doubt. But if we had to choose between Ballmer's prevailing worldview and IDC's gaudy projections, we'd probably lean Ballmer's way.

What's your take on the economic recovery? Are you feeling it, and if so, how? Send your thoughts to lpender@rcpmag.com.

Posted by Lee Pender on 10/06/2009 at 1:22 PM


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