The Roundup: Businesses Going Global, Acting Local

By David Aponovich

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All Business is Local
The growth of global e-business is driving the market for so-called localization services that help businesses communicate with customers, suppliers and employees in places far from their home turf. The demand for globalization and localization services (GLS) is expected to jump from $3.8 billion in 2000 to $10.3 billion by 2005, reports tech research firm IDC of Framingham, Mass.

The solutions help companies bridge borders, cultures and multilingual environments, enabling participants to understand, communicate and interact, no matter their language or location, says IDC analyst Alexander Motsenigos. He adds, "This basic requirement forms the driving vision transforming the industry today."

In 2005, the U.S. will be the largest market for GLS spending followed by Western Europe, accounting for a combined 78.1% of the total, but growth rates will be higher in the Asia/Pacific region and in Latin America. By 2005, three largest markets for the solutions will be: localization, translation, and interpretation (LTI), followed by globalization strategy consulting and internationalization services.

2001 Worst Year for Semiconductor Vendors
Semiconductor vendors were hit with the worst industry decline in the history of the market during 2001, as revenue fell 33% to $152 billion (versus $227 billion in 2000) according to preliminary statistics from Dataquest, a unit of Gartner Inc. As a result, the industry can expect continued consolidation during 2002.

Dataquest reports that all of the top 10 semiconductor vendors saw revenues fall anywhere from 19% to 49% this year. Revenues for Intel, which has three times the revenues of its nearest competitor, fell 22.4% to $23.5 billion. Second- through fifth-place vendors are Toshiba, ST Microelectronics, Samsung and Texas Instruments, which all saw revenues fall between 19.4 and 40% in 2001.

Mary Olsson, chief analyst for Gartner Dataquest's worldwide, says, "The entrepreneurial model of building and investing in new technology went bust in 2001. A downturn of this magnitude will be difficult for many companies to recover from in 2002."

While a downturn in spending on enterprise technology products was a major cause of the industry's problems, there was some good news: Semiconductor production for digital consumer products ( such as DVD players, digital cameras and game consoles) was stronger this year compared to other applications.

Authentication Tools Get Renewed Scrutiny
Hardware authentication, notably biometrics, is undergoing a major change in the wake of Sept. 11, with two trends emerging, according to IDC.

"Software platforms that support a heterogeneous mix of biometrics, tokens, and smart cards promise to boost security, reduce cost, and improve convenience," says Chris Christiansen, program vice president of IDC's Internet Infrastructure and Security Software services. "Simultaneously, physical security and surveillance technologies are coalescing with both hardware and software authentication technologies."

The result: IDC says corporations are expected to adopt multiple authentication methods. This means both biometric hardware and software solutions to ensure a better check of a user's identity. Along with biometrics, physical access solutions, which control who can enter a building, what departments they can visit and what network resources they can use, will be critical to reducing security threats.

Server Sales Fall in Western Europe
The server market in Western Europe continues to weaken, as economic concerns are causing many corporations to put off large server purchases in the near-term future, according to new market research released by Gartner Dataquest.

Server shipments in Western Europe fell by 7 percent in the third quarter of 2001 when compared to same quarter in 2000, falling to 248,000 units, while server revenues declined to $3.26 billion -- a decline of 21 percent.

"Concerns over the economic outlook in Europe continue to negatively impact investments in hardware Revenues were further dampened by intense pricing competition at all levels of the product spectrum," says Karen Benson, principal analyst at Gartner Dataquest. Many users switched to maintaining their installed infrastructure instead of undertaking major new application deployments. The result was upgrades of existing systems and purchases of lower-end systems.

The weakest segment of the Western European server economy was RISC/UNIX servers, which typically used as enterprise servers, with shipments down 36% over the previous year.

--This item from ServerWatch, an internet.com site.