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Homepage: Place your bets

Homepage: Place your bets

IDC certainly threw the cat among the pigeons recently when it claimed that customer spending on Y2K-related issues would continue to surge, despite grumblings to the contrary that many customers have shredded their cheque books.

What's more, when ARN spoke to a number of resellers for our front page story last week it was clear IDC wasn't speaking through its bum, as has been the case previously, according to some analyst-watching resellers.

No doubt, the channel is eagerly awaiting the upcoming Federal Budget, which among other pertinent monetary matters could include a Y2K tax cherry. If my sources are correct, all IT-related products - including any Y2K software or services - will become tax-deductible in the next budget. Now you don't have to be a mental giant to realise that a tax write-off for Y2K spending will bring joy to the faces of customers and plenty of folding stuff for the channel.

Of course there will be oodles of customers who just won't take the risk of spending more money on new projects. That's understandable, given the worrisome state of progress of many small and medium businesses with their Y2K compliancy projects.

So where does all this leave your average channel player, and even the vendors? In a bit of a quandary, if you ask me. Do you take a punt and hope that your customers are going to come running and screaming to your door begging for forklift technology upgrades for their non-Y2K compliant networks and software? Or do you sit tight and hope that all these little Y2K upgrades you're doing at the moment will be enough to get you across the line later this year?

If I was a betting man (and I'm not, so forgive me if my market is way off the mark), it would be an interesting exercise to start a book on the state of play between September and December this year.

Let's take the "customers will spend up big between September and December" approach. I'd give you 2-1 that this will be the outcome. But if you want to throw your hard earned on the "market's going to die between September and December because everyone's got their heads in the sand" approach, I'd offer you 5-1.

Now, once again, I'll remind you that I'm no betting aficionado, but I would be tempted to sink a few dollars into the Y2K spender's coffers. Why?

Between September and December you will see the vendors looking to get rid of their excess inventories in a big way via discount and technology trade-up offers. If you were a customer, imagine getting an entire Y2K compliant system for half price at worst. That's right, half-price technology and you can rip out your old network and replace it with squeaky-clean gear.

And for resellers and integrators, that only means one thing. Services dollars by the bucket-load.

If you would like to place a Y2K spending bet with me, e-mail: cameron_tomes@idg.com.au


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