In the midst of a financial and economic crisis, and in the midst of uncertainty associated with a historic presidential election, the DLA Piper 2008 Technology Leaders Forecast Survey found that industry leaders have a host of concerns, but are fundamentally optimistic about future opportunities.
The survey, measuring the attitudes and perspectives of top executives within the technology industry, reveals that 75% of respondents say they have been adversely affected by the economic slowdown. Only 15% of respondents think the U.S. economy is likely to rebound in the first half of 2009 and more than half of respondents (55%) believe the IPO market will not begin to rebound until at least 2010. With responses received between September 23 and October 6, the survey was conducted as Congress debated the $700 billion bailout bill and during a tumultuous two weeks on Wall Street.
Respondents deploying capital (Venture Capitalists) reflected a much different view of the financial crisis than those needing capital (companies themselves), which is understandable given that VCs have a greater focus on exit strategies. Nearly half (47%) of finance and venture capital respondents say the current financial crisis will have a more adverse impact on the technology industry than the Technology Bubble Burst of 2000. However, 67% of technology company entrepreneurs and leaders disagree. The survey yielded a number of other interesting conclusions, including:
--85% of respondents think we are in for another year or more of the current economic conditions, signaling a collective view that the present financial challenges are not a short-term phenomenon.
--Clean technology is one of the bright areas amid the financial crisis and economic turmoil, with tech leaders believing the sector will get a boost given the continuing economic and political pressure towards greater U.S. energy independence.
--With almost 90% of respondents saying the Chinese consumer market is an exploitable opportunity, technology industry executives still believe China represents a significant opportunity as both an end market and a supplier.
--Almost half of all respondents (48%) do not have an open source software policy, which experts warn could open them up to legal exposure.
-- While there continues to be considerable discussion about innovation coming out of emerging markets, 55% of respondents think the US will still lead in producing the next generation of “leap-frog” technologies in the coming decade.--Beyond the hard data captured, survey respondents provided some interesting perspectives when asked to share the greatest opportunities in today’s technology industry. Many respondents see green technology and clean technology as the segments most poised for growth.
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