Gartner CEO predicts 2004 recovery

The good news is that the bad news is almost over, said Michael Fleisher, chairman and CEO of Gartner Inc. (, a Stamford, Conn.-based consulting firm.

Speaking to attendees of the Gartner ITxpo this week at the San Diego Convention Center, Fleisher noted that his firm had predicted a dot-com bust back in 1999, during the height of its boom. At the time, he said, few in the high-tech industry wanted to hear any negative forecast. During the past two years, Gartner has remained pessimistic about the chances for a tech recovery, said Fleisher; however, he added, the firm still does not hold out much hope before the end of 2003.

But 2004 may very well be the year of a high-tech turnaround, he told the keynote audience. "We see a high probability of recovery in 2004," Fleisher said.

A combination of aging enterprise systems becoming increasingly costly to maintain and the emergence of new software and hardware technologies will spur the recovery, he predicted.

Through the recession, companies held on to existing systems in an effort to cut costs. But the time is approaching when the dollar savings realized by purchasing the next generation of servers will outweigh the rising cost of maintaining existing ones, the Gartner CEO said.

Fleisher also predicted that investments by companies like Cisco Systems Inc. ( and Intel Corp. ( in wireless technologies will lead to a boom in that technology next year.

In looking to the future of software, Fleisher pointed to the emergence of Web services, which he expects will begin to support real business applications by the end of 2003. Gartner also expects the Linux operating system to be "ready for serious applications" by 2004, he added.

These factors make the case for a tech recovery strong enough to avoid a dependency on an overall economic turnaround, Fleisher said. However, he did list two caveats to the Gartner forecast. The tech recovery might be slowed if problems arise with the war in Iraq and, on the more mundane side, any recovery could suffer if there is a lag in what Gartner sees as an essential consolidation among hardware and software vendors.

About the Author

Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.


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