The Italian information technology market is continuing to pick up, with the service sector leading the recovery and Windows NT playing a major part, although software revenues are suffering from a resurgence of piracy, according to industry analyst International Data Corp’s Italia division. IDC says total IT revenues for the first nine months of the year are up 7.3% on last year, to $11.5bn. This is above our predictions, says IDC analyst Antonio Romano. An analysis of the demand shows a good level of investment from large corporations, countered by a less than average growth among small- and medium-sized companies. But even among smaller companies, the trend is positive, with significant growth over the first six months of the year. Also, despite differing levels of investment, we got confirmation of good progress in the finance and service sector and in public administration. IDC expects further increase in the market in the last quarter of the year, based on optimistic projections from major IT product manufacturers in Italy. The firm also expects to see a relaunch of the consumer IT market, thanks to a slow improvement in consumer confidence. We’re forecasting growth for products and services above expectations, both for the professional and consumer sectors. The revised call rates for internet access that are to take effect next January are expected to push up sales for systems that will access the network. IDC notes that, despite a slowdown in notebook sales due to a lack of availability of certain Intel-based models, other hardware sectors, such as PC servers, shot up 122%. Software, on the other hand, was not all positive news. Although total revenues grew 5.3%, they were below forecast. Romano said the performance was due to unenthusiastic growth in desktop office automation systems, where there has been a resurgence of piracy. Network operating systems, specifically NT, have been responsible for the growth. NT, he said, has captured market share from Novell Inc. The best news, Romano said, comes from the service sector, which registered growth of 9.2%, and which is driving the whole Italian market recovery. Although the biggest part of Italian companies’ spend for fixing computer systems to handle the year 2000 problem is expected in 1998-99, some of it is already filtering through.
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