Is the tech boom over? I decided this week to look at the other side of the technology picture, while many people are busy singing sad songs about India's information technology (IT) companies.
True, companies like Infosys, Wipro and Satyam Computer Services have been strongly hit by the US financial crisis. But then, that is because their hottest customers giving the most lucrative business were precisely the financial companies that have gone bust or have gone nearly there. Like a restaurant whose customers go missing during a riot, these companies are busy applying the brakes on hiring.
But did you notice how Wall Street perked up on Thursday after positive results from IBM and Google? The fact is that finance-centric IT is in a deep crisis, but not the entire sector.
Last week, I met Sudip Nandy, recently named Chief Executive Officer of Gurgaon-headquartered Aricent, in a new role after quitting Wipro as Chief Strategy Officer. He was complaining about how his company is looking for 800 people (that's 10 per
cent additional work-force) while the media was writing about jobs under threat.
Now, why is that? Aricent, which once was Hughes Software, is now a cutting-edge design software company that helps telecom manufacturers and service providers and mobile handset companies with new features. From 3G services for stock trading to Wi-MAX technology to take the Internet to rural areas, such companies are in a market in which more people are buying cellphones and even rural vegetable growers are looking to use the Web. From washing machines to cable TV boxes, everything will increasingly sport some specially designed microchips and software. That's all IT for you.
Sure, the money men will lick their wounds before funding others, but things will look up again – though I suspect it would be with a more balanced worldview.