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Facing 2009 amidst all the gloom and doom!


We are into month 2 of the year 2009.  January was exciting with the new president Obama’s inauguration. The last two months since the election victory were painful with a lame-duck president and an economic crisis getting worse with each passing day. Someone said referring to the past president, “It’s like a dinner guest who refuses to quit.” With unemployment at a record high, there are hardly any signs of economic sunshine. Microsoft laid off 5000 people, a first in its history. Even Google is belt-tightening with cost cutting.

But then, you hear some encouraging signs here and there. IBM did well with its quarterly growth and income. Twitter got an infusion of cash ($35m) even if it was not looking for money and its revenue-producing business model not yet public. The arena of “Application Modernization” with the goal of reducing TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and improving user experience seems to be getting more attention. The switch-over from the old client-server (read fat client) to a web-based architecture makes lot of sense. The consumer sector leads the way here. But enterprises continue to be laggards, mostly because of their dependence on “packaged software” such as SAP and Oracle.

The job market for software professionals is weak, based on anecdotal evidence. No one is recruiting right now. It’s a “wait-and-see” mentality. Prediction of a better second-half of 2009 is making the rounds. Start-up companies are following the mantra of “conserve cash”. Enterprise IT spending is at an all time low.

Let us hope this period ends soon.

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More Stories By Jnan Dash

Jnan Dash is Senior Advisor at EZShield Inc., Advisor at ScaleDB and Board Member at Compassites Software Solutions. He has lived in Silicon Valley since 1979. Formerly he was the Chief Strategy Officer (Consulting) at Curl Inc., before which he spent ten years at Oracle Corporation and was the Group Vice President, Systems Architecture and Technology till 2002. He was responsible for setting Oracle's core database and application server product directions and interacted with customers worldwide in translating future needs to product plans. Before that he spent 16 years at IBM. He blogs at http://jnandash.ulitzer.com.