Hardware is the new black. Well, maybe that's not strictly true. Black will never become unfashionable. Clothes retailers will not stop selling it, because it's too popular; it will never end up at the bargain end of the line.
Hardware, on the other hand, is now at the cheap end of the commodity line, according to many. But does that mean it's not worth selling? Of course not. And what does the word 'commodity' really mean? Isn't that just another way of saying something is really popular?
Hardware has been through its unpopular phase and is now back in fashion, or at least it's heading that way.
Last week, software distributor Computers Unlimited announced it was getting into hardware via deals with Samsung and JVC - two hardware stalwarts.
This week, SurfControl, a web filtering software firm, declared its intention to get into the security appliance market.
The company isn't leaving its software roots, but it's looking to get into a market that it obviously thinks has a future.
The amount of new hardware research that has come out recently is further testimony to the sector's recovery.
At one point research on the hardware sector seemed to completely disappear; it's almost as if the analysts got bored with repeating the same depressing tale, so the sector was confined to the back of the research wardrobe, never to be seen again.
But last week Plimsoll Publishing announced that over a quarter of all hardware firms have seen sales increase by more than 15 per cent.
And according to Gartner's latest PC figures, shipments are up a whopping 13 per cent on last year. The idea of double-digit growth in the PC sector would have seemed almost laughable 18 months ago.
While we're all aware that hardware isn't ever going to be the killer app, and that software is the key to differentiation and management, it should be remembered that without the hardware there wouldn't be anything for the software to run on.
Hardware is like your favourite pair of jeans: it doesn't matter what else comes into your wardrobe, you know you just can't do without them.
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