The weather outside is frightful, and sales are less than delightful as we enter the usually frantic Christmas period.
Will it snow a light dusting of product and service demand, or will an avalanche swamp the channel with unexpected sales? Some are even forecasting that it might not snow at all.
And, despite more signs that the economy may be turning the corner, some economists are worrying about the onset of deflation.
Although this may stimulate demand among end users and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) delighted at the prospect of cost savings, for manufacturers it is a different story altogether.
After years of razor-thin margins and price wars, the thought of deflation may be the final straw for smaller vendors that have been trying to mix it with the bigger boys, with their deep pockets and alternative revenue streams.
It may even shake up traditional suppliers that have not bolstered their businesses with services around products.
But for system builders the onset of deflation might not be such a big issue, because compelling prices have traditionally been central to their strategy.
In addition, the image of the market is changing, leading many experts to predict that system builders will enjoy a white Christmas at the tier-one vendors' expense.
With support from big hitters such as Intel, AMD, Kingston and even, in the US, Dell, this could be the market to watch as we enter 2003.
But it is not just the support of the big brands that has got analysts excited. Credit must also go to the white box market, which has bolstered its offerings with support from services as basic as proximity to the customer to specialist niche offerings to suit clients' requirements. White box builders' agility is making them very attractive to SMEs.
And, as Cisco chief John Chambers once said to me: "There is no better impetus for change than survival."
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