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New order?

New order?

Surely the biggest news of this year, no matter which industry you work in, was the change of federal government delivered at the polling booths at the end of last month. Kevin Rudd and the Labor Party have pushed the 'new leadership' message very hard in the months leading up to the election and now it's time to deliver.

The post-election mood has been less jubilant than I remember in the UK when Tony Blair's Labour Party came to power in 1997 but there are some striking parallels. Both men brought their respective parties back after a long spell in the wilderness - the British Labour Party had been in opposition for 17 years and the Australian Labor Party for more than a decade.

Rudd, like Blair, also seems very well polished and stage managed but how will his policies compare? In the UK, Blair's 'New Labour' government was like no previous Labour administration and its policies, particularly in relation to the economy, were often described as conservative with a small 'c'. Whether Rudd's tenure will also be remembered for narrowing the gap between the two major parties remains to be seen.

For the first time ever, IT was a significant issue in the recent Australian election with both parties announcing plans to improve the state of the nation's broadband infrastructure. Rudd also used the televised pre-election debate to promise a laptop for every child. With the environment having been such a key issue as well, it will be interesting to see if Labor pushes through legislation to address IT recycling. To date, only Europe has successfully tackled this issue. This was done by building a levy into the upfront cost of hardware and it will take similar moves here to achieve the same result.

In the IT industry as a whole, VMware has been the poster child of the past 12 months but its dominant position in the virtualisation market is likely to be threatened by Microsoft and also Citrix now that is has picked up XenSource. Dell was the most challenged of the major vendors in 2007 and has finally decided that 'if you can't beat them, join them'. Expect the direct dealer to step up its attempts to woo the channel next year while continuing to work harder than most on its environmental messaging.

In the channel there's been a lot of consolidation in the integration space, with Leading Solutions and Computer-Corp a standout deal. It's been a tough, competitive, year but those with a good message have largely been able to register solid growth. Of course, not everybody has prospered and even a couple of bigger names like Commander and Cellnet have had a difficult year. For others that are finding it tough going, the quiet period over Christmas will test their resources to the limit.

I will be on holiday for the rest of the year so please send all editorial enquiries to our deputy editor, Nadia Cameron, and have a great Christmas break whether its three days or three weeks.


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