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OECD Information Technology Outlook 2008

image of OECD Information Technology Outlook 2008
Information technology (IT) and broadband are major drivers of research, innovation, economic growth and social change. The 2008 edition of the OECD Information Technology Outlook analyses recent developments in the IT goods and services industries, and suggests that the outlook is for continued long-term growth, constrained by the currently very uncertain macroeconomic environment in OECD countries but with somewhat higher growth possible elsewhere.  

This edition analyses the impact of high-speed broadband on the economy, and areas of future impacts. The dynamic growth of digital-content-based creative industries is outlined, covering user-created content; online computer and video games; film, video and music; and online advertising.  Recent trends in OECD ICT policies are analysed to assess whether they are rising to these new challenges. Highly prioritised policy areas include investing in ICT R&D and innovation, improving government online activities, spreading broadband, increasing the use of ICTs, raising ICT skills and employment, and supporting digital content development.

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The IT Industry

Recent Developments and Outlook

The current outlook for the ICT sector is much less favourable than at the time of the last edition of this publication, in 2006. The macroeconomic outlook has progressively worsened and both business and consumer confidence in OECD countries have fallen sharply. Projections both in general and for the ICT sector have been successively revised sharply downwards. Macroeconomic forecasts combined with business and consumer sentiment suggest that ICT growth in OECD countries slowed rapidly in 2008 but is unlikely to collapse as it did in 2001. Overall, the near-term outlook for OECD countries is for a maximum of 4% ICT growth in 2008 and zero or below until the end of 2009, with very different performances across segments and markets. As in the last downturn, there is also likely to be considerable pressure on OECD ICT employment owing to increasing competition from non-OECD economies and global industrial restructuring in ICT goods and services. Global ICT markets are also shifting to non-OECD economies, and the top 250 ICT firms include increasing numbers of non-OECD firms. The long-term performance of the ICT sector will depend on whether new goods and services will continue to prompt businesses and consumers to keep investing in and buying ICT output and the extent to which non-OECD economies maintain their more dynamic growth paths.

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