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Survey: IT spending might rise, but . . .

Mar 03, 20034 mins
Enterprise Applications

Plus: Counterfeit Symantic software seized; Tenor Networks shuts down; Bill Gates still the world’s richest man; standards group works on reliable Web services messaging.

A strong majority of companies surveyed for a recent IDC study expect to maintain or increase their IT spending this year, but those plans are tied tightly to worldwide economic stability, according to the research firm.

The survey covered about 1,000 CEOs and CIOs in 12 countries. Of those polled, 85% said they expect their IT budgets to either remain flat or grow over last year. But many organizations reported that they would re-evaluate their plans throughout the year and adjust spending in accordance with economic indicators and their confidence levels.

Half the CEOs polled cited low profits and a weak business climate as potential reasons to rein in IT spending, according to IDC. IDC’s study predicts that half of IT spending in 2003 will go toward routine infrastructure upgrades. Vendors of storage hardware, PCs and network equipment are likely to see a sales surge because of demand for infrastructure equipment, IDC said.

New York City police working with FBI and Internal Revenue Service agents last week raided a Queens location to seize approximately $3.2 million worth of counterfeit Symantec antivirus and utilities software, and $5.9 million in fake Microsoft software. Government officials say they believe the six individuals were operating two shell companies, Blue Media and PC Tech, in which they reaped profits of about $15 million over two years, mainly from copying Symantec software and selling it to consumers and businesses. If convicted, the six face a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Multiservice switch vendor Tenor Networks shut its doors last week, the latest casualty in a brutal market for carrier equipment sales. The company, which was founded in 1998 and raised more than $120 million in funding, managed to sell some of its gear for use in carrier service trials but was never able to penetrate production networks.

Tenor’s IP/Multi-protocol-Label-Switching-based packet infrastructure products were designed to support Ethernet, frame relay and ATM services – with metropolitan Ethernet increasingly the company’s focus. Tenor is the latest among a host of carrier equipment companies forced to close shop over the past year. Others have included Crescent Networks and Gotham Networks.

Ho, hum, Bill Gates is still the richest man in the world, according to Forbes magazine’s annual ranking of those for whom money is no object. However, there was a rather remarkable nugget of information underneath the expected ranking and raw total of $40.7 billion: The Microsoft chairman last year saw his net worth drop by an astounding $12.1 billion, or about $23,000 per minute. Not that anyone’s planning a bake sale. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison also made the top 10, while Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Dell founder Michael Dell checked in a bit further down the list.

A standards body working on protocols for Web services has begun crafting a specification for reliability that will help plug a hole in the budding technology that is stifling enterprise adoption. The Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards last week said it is forming a Web Services Reliable Messaging technical committee that will develop a specification to guarantee the delivery of messages between applications, especially those executing business transactions.

Reliability and security are two areas of Web services development that corporate users are watching closely. Both are needed to ensure that Web services can live up to enterprise demands for distributed computing. WS-RM will work with Simple Object Access Protocol, the standard messaging protocol used for Web services. WS-RM information would be inserted into the headers of SOAP messages.

WS-RM will be crafted from the WS-Reliability specification drafted in early January by Fujitsu, Hitachi, Oracle, NEC, Sonic Software and Sun. Tom Rutt, IT standards manager for Fujitsu, will serve as chair of the committee.