How far can the semi-conductor industry slowdown carry on?
And will it become a slump if the Asia Pacific market isn't pulled out of recession soon?
There are some parts of the UK which are already suffering badly.
Scotland has been hit with another 5,000 job losses as a result of the Compaq takeover of Digital. When it looked as though the worst was about over, other rumblings within the semi-conductor industry look set to make this, metaphorically at least, a long hot summer.
Intel has announced that one of its main manufacturing sites in the US is set to be shut down to reduce production for at least nine days over the summer. The vendor is blaming the world economic slowdown for the decision.
At the same time, another US chip manufacturer - S3 - which briefly took control of the graphics business in 1996, is also in trouble. But it looks as if it has decided to catch the legal bug. This is depressing. Is the whole industry going to descend into a summer of legal action led by Larry Ellison and Scott McNeally clones?
Has S3's decision got anything to do with the fact that Intel has just lost the first round of its antitrust legal battle with the US Federal Trade Commission? If it is, S3 will learn fairly quickly that if anything is to be learned from the Microsoft DoJ legal cases, it is that legal action should be a last resort.
How often does this have to be repeated? Why doesn't the IT industry look at the history of other industries where legal cases have crippled huge enterprises? IBM is now locked in a legal battle with a small French internet start-up company, E*Technologies Associates, to prevent IBM using its e-logo for its e-business concept.
A prize for the reader who nominates the silliest summer legal wrangle.
Now is the time for all resellers to stash the World Cup souvenirs away for the grandchildren; book their summer holidays; buy loads of duty free at the airport; lie on the beach and plan their computer telephony strategies.
Because if you don't do it now, you will not have one in place this year.
If you are not having any cashflow or financial problems then that's great.
But all the indications are that computer telephony (CT) is where the vendors will be putting their markers for big bucks late this year.
The talk is of high margins only dreamed of since the early days of the PC. There are probably only some instances where these margins can be met - and then only by trained qualified resellers.
But the real revolution will be the acceptance by resellers that they will have to learn a whole new bag of tricks. Having watched a recent and quite impressive demonstration of a CT installation in action, I would be very interested in finding out how many resellers are capable yet of supporting it. Before all your competitors get back from holiday and start planning their trips to Comdex in the autumn, anticipate now what they will be shouting about when they get back and do some long-anticipated, long-term planning.
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