Apple shines slightly as gloom grips tech sector

Fresh research warns of a historic collapse in US corporate IT spending – but notes Apple may continue to make progress in these markets, as iPhone’s corporate marketshare exceeds Palm.

Changewave’s senior researcher Paul Carton warns new research by his firm shows, “an accelerating collapse in US business spending that has reached historic proportions – with record pullbacks occurring both in the current fourth Quarter and going forward.”

In one of the survey’s few upbeat findings, the corporate smartphone market continues to show growth – with Research in Motion maintaining its huge lead, but Apple continuing to make inroads in small to medium-sized businesses.

“Simply put, the IT spending projections for 1st Quarter 2009 are abysmal,” Changewave informs, “the worst ever for a ChangeWave survey dating back to 2001. An unprecedented 45% of respondents say their company’s IT spending will decrease (or there will be no spending at all) in the 1st Quarter – 16-pts worse than our previous survey.” Just 10% of survey respondents say spending will increase .

It gets worse. Nearly four-in-ten (39%) say they’ve spent “Less than Planned” so far this quarter – 9-pts worse than in our previous survey. Just 8% have spent “More than Planned” – a 4-pt drop from previously.

Smartphones shine

The only bright spot here appears to be found in the corporate smart phone market, which is seeing some growth, 35% of respondents report their company plans to buy smartphones next quarter, up 1-point from August.

RIM (78%; down 1-pt) continues to garner the dominant share of planned corporate smart phone buying, but the Apple iPhone (22%; up 5-pts) shows considerable momentum going forward.

“We note that RIM’s corporate share is heavily concentrated among larger companies (over 1,000 employees), while three quarters of Apple’s share is among small-to medium-sized companies (under 1,000 employees),” Carton warned.

Further confirming that the 3G iPhone is having a positive impact on the corporate market – nearly one-in-five respondents (18%) say the release of the 3G has made their company More Likely to purchase Apple products in the future.

Despite the moderately good news for Apple, most incumbents in the technology sector are already tightening their belts for extremely choppy waters ahead.

“In short, the current ChangeWave survey findings virtually guarantee that we’ll be seeing the technology sector get hammered with pre-announcements before the January earnings season gets underway,” the researchers warned.

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