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The IT sector could see $150bn wiped off their sales ledgers over the next three years - if the European economy gets any worse.

So says IDC, the market research firm, which notes "new economic data pointing to the possibility of a more severe downturn in Western Europe".

This increases the likelihood that the technology slowdown seen in US will spread to Europe. On a worst-case scenario, global spending worldwide will reduce by up to $150bn between 2001 and 2003, with Europe accounting for $50bn of the fall in demand.

IDC is not yet ready to forecast that this will happen. It is still projecting double digit growth for IT spend in Western Europe in 2001. But now it is entering some big caveats: "Spending in some segments of the European IT hardware has clearly tempered, including weaker demand from service providers for networking equipment and a slowing growth rate for PC sales," the firm says.

"Historically, hardware spending is highly
vulnerable to swings in the overall economy,"according to IDC which continues to predict strong growth in the region this year for software and services. ®

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