Thought for the day:Recession bytes

Hard-hitting IT columnist Simon Moores gives his personal take on the hot issue of the day.Why anyone would let themselves be...

Hard-hitting IT columnist Simon Moores gives his personal take on the hot issue of the day.Why anyone would let themselves be persuaded to get up at 4.30am is a mystery, unless of course it happens to involve breakfast television.

Last week, my ego got the better of my desire for a good night's sleep and I went on breakfast television to review the lastest results from IBM.

Like Microsoft, IBM's results were better than expected, in a week that saw the value of the FTSE and Wall Street indices dip and dive more energetically than ever. I then found myself challenging Gartner's optimism.

"Is the technology sector showing signs of coming out of recession?" asked my interviewer. Biting my tongue, I offered a polite no and gave some examples.

Over seven days, I know nine people who have lost their jobs and only one, who lost his last November as the server marketing manager for a "big iron" company, has found a new job.

Two more people, one the managing director of a high-profile public sector failure, have e-mailed me asking if I know of any opportunities and the other, a managing director of a well-known IT services company, has gone on zero salary to set an example, having cut 60% of his staff this year. Having dealt with some of the largest companies in the city, he told me, "nobody is buying or making decisions".

I could go on, but it's a catalogue of despair and fails to suggest any reason why people might expect an upturn in the market this quarter. A year ago, I recall surveys suggesting that mid-2002 would show signs of recovery.

From time to time, I'm told that people in the Government dip into this column, so if you're reading this, why is this bloodletting in the IT industry not showing through in the unemployment figures?

Worse still, perhaps, there are consequences for the Government's corporation tax revenues. There's a not so hidden recession at work here, the country is floating on an ocean of debt and business confidence is falling through the floor.

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Zentelligence Setting the world to rights with the collected thoughts and opinions of the futurist writer, broadcaster and Computer Weekly columnist Simon Moores.

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