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.