There have been many articles on the web lately describing a reduction in spending in IT this year. For example, IDC found 4.9% reduction in spending on servers in APEJ 2008/2007. This is tiny compared to the usual growth and the downturn in other industries.
Many are in panic, laying off workers and blaming the economic downturn for their troubles but there other many other forces at work. There must be some positives limiting the downturn in IT. If we consider Moore’s Law brought us cheap storage/memory/quad-core CPUs recently, and people have been seriously consolidating servers and services, the growth in spending is absolutely wonderful. The purpose of IT is to do everything better/faster/cheaper. We should not be upset that it is working and that the world can get done what it is doing with fewer servers/staff.
Another force to be reckoned with is the move to FLOSS. Servers running GNU/Linux can do more. Once we have enough servers idling for redundancy and load balancing, perhaps we do not need so many. The slowdown will be affecting startups greatly and established outfits less. Instead of panic, we should see these changes as a normal part of IT and adjust.
Unfortunately for GNU/Linux on the desktop, many OEMs seem to have reduced production of systems with GNU/Linux at the very time when they could move a lot of product. By sticking with M$, they will harm themselves as well as their customers by prolonging the monopoly. The OEMs who push GNU/Linux sincerely will make a killing in emerging markets at the low end of unit prices. Those sticking with M$ will not be able to compete on price no matter the subsidy they get form M$. The layoffs at M$ show us that the cash cow is drying up.
We have similar declines in the desktop PC as notebooks become more popular. Is the solution to stick with M$ and decline with them? No! OEMs should produce less expensive desktops based on mini/micro/nano ATX and low power CPUs, probably thin clients. If they make them as cheap as the Chinese are, they will sell and they will have growth in desktops, not decline because a tiny desktop is better than a notebook except for portability. Few of us are traveling salesmen. Many of us can log in at a different terminal in the organization instead of carrying a burden with us.
Moore’s Law is expected to permit more computing in a small package for less money. OEMs who try to keep prices up instead of increasing volume are missing the boat. They should not prolong or intensify the downturn by fighting Nature. Let GNU/Linux on low-powered devices and others thrive. The world is demanding lower-powered CPUs for clients. Intel, AMD, VIA, etc. should give the world what the world wants and there would be more growth. Lower unit prices are inevitable. Decline in the industry is not.