Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oil trap for IT-industry

World oil prices since the beginning of the year, growing rapidly. Barrel time after time beats own record, "oil" topic is not similar to the first strips of newspapers and screens. But few people still thought about how energy situation may affect the IT-industry. Meanwhile, the impact could be quite strong. According to most experts, as soon as the price of oil reaches $ 200 mark per barrel, is a global recession. Of course, straight towards the IT-industry oil prices affect poor. The chain of relationships in this area looks much more difficult. But can be traced two main ways.

The road first. The increase in oil prices directly leads to an increase in food prices - that we are witnessing today. According to the laws of economics, where expensive food basket, falling levels of consumption items are not necessities. In this case all kinds of gadgets - digital cameras, mp3-players, etc. Relationship simple: went products - means fewer people will replace their cell phone to the new model. For example, the consulting company Gartner lowered growth forecast of the global market of mobile phones in 2008 to 10-11%. Back in late May, the company forecast that it will be 10-15%. "In June, the economic environment began to have a negative impact not only on developing markets, but also to mature - Milanezi said Carolina, head of research unit mobile market. -- We register the warnings of a weaker second quarter from Sony Ericsson and some manufacturers of components ", - she says. Home PC will be updated less frequently, too - but it does not have a significant segment of the computer market. But sales, for example, digital dictaphones not fall - is working tools, not buy them for fun.

The way the second. Rising oil prices oppressed the entire corporate sector - and especially industry. And it is a huge market for computer plus market "heavy" software - like DBMS or CRM-decisions. Plus network solutions. That is, industry, reducing the share of expenditure in non-production costs, adhere to upgrade computer park, software updates, etc. Accordingly, manufacturers suffered major computer hardware and software developers. Here's a fresh example: Sun Microsystems Corporation has reduced 1000 employees in the U.S. and Canada. In total, the company plans to dismiss from 1500 to 2500 employees in offices around the world. Further reductions will affect countries in the Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Africa. The dismissal of 2500 employees means the loss of 7% of the workforce. Sun Microsystems said that the layoffs have caused economic hardship as a result of which the corporation lost $ 34 million for the most recent financial quarter. The Director-General Sun, Jonathan Schwartz reported that profit company in the U.S. declined by 10%. It identified the major problems in the region, which is the source of 40% of income corporation. As for the "original" semiconductor market, the Gartner analysts foresee a general reduction in spending on basic semiconductor production equipment in 2008. According to specialists, the cost of creating flash drives will not exceed $ 49.2 billion, which means lowering at 22.4% compared with last year. The cause of cuts in funding Gartner sees in the protracted economic instability without visibility improvements in the future. Reducing the world's total production costs of memory devices will be 32.1%. And for dynamic RAM reduction rate exceeds 40%, and for NAND-Flash is 19%.

Manufacturing semiconductor materials remains the most popular market segment. Gartner predicts decline in this area no more than 21.5%. The cost of equipment for assembling and stocking presumably reduced to 15.2%. The market for automated testing equipment products will show a negative deviation at 20.2%. In 2009, Gartner predicts slight increase in all segments of the world market for semiconductor memory devices in connection with the removal of surplus offers dynamic RAM. Overall growth expected to reach 7.6%. We need to remember that the overall decline in business activity directly affects the telecommunications market. But in this case make any specific projections rather difficult: the business for several years reduces costs for communications, actively implementing IP-telephony, and the cost of access to the Internet all the time falls.

A separate issue - oil and Asia. In fact, nowadays the vast majority of computer (and in general electronic) industries are concentrated in Southeast Asia. So: the Asian Development Bank forecast, the economy of developing countries on the continent in 2008 will grow only 7%. Previously, Asia thanks to low production costs supplied cheap goods worldwide. It is thanks to her in recent years markedly cheaper computers, and indeed the entire electronics in general. But now a long period in which Asia has been a source of declining world prices for many categories of products, is over. And consequently, the cost of production of computer components will inevitably begin to grow (in fact, already begun). The findings, I think, lie on the surface. But, by the way, an interesting opinion. "The increase in oil prices on world markets is useful for the development of the Internet, despite the fact that damages the world economy as a whole". This is the word Google vice president Vint Cerf said at a meeting in Seoul, South Korean devoted to the development of the Internet economy. According to Cerf, more people will work through the Internet to improve the efficiency of doing business. In particular, business people are increasingly using video, because travel became much more costly. In addition, new opportunities for search engines relating to selection of the best routes for savings. Cerf said that South Korea has the best opportunities for such development, because this country has the highest concentration of high-speed Internet and mobile communications. In particular, 94% of households in Korea have access to the Internet, while the average for countries - participants in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the figure is 58%. Difficult to say how human Vint Cerf. But do not wish to see a worldwide recession because of excessive oil prices stopped a rapid growth of IT-industry, which we have seen the last half-dozen years.

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