Today's conventional wisdom: Avoid software companies with significant exposure in EMEA -- that is, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. After all, Business Objects ( BOBJ) and SAP ( SAP) blamed their recent profit warnings on soft business conditions in Europe. But like all conventional wisdom, it bears closer examination. Consider SAP, which normally fires on all cylinders but which stumbled as deals evaporated at the end of the second quarter. Superficially, the problem did seem to have a European flavor: Constant currency software revenue growth was 21% in the Americas, 3% in EMEA and 4% in Asia Pacific. But on closer examination, the weakness was actually concentrated in the U.K. and the Nordic region, the company said, while growth was strong in Germany, France and Russia. Then there's FileNet ( FILE), a provider of, among other things, document management software. In its March quarter, the Costa Mesa, Calif., company grew software revenue by 17%, despite having a European exposure of about 30%. "I haven't seen any reports or gotten any input from our team indicating weakness in Europe," said FileNet CEO Lee Roberts. "In fact, our European business is growing faster than our U.S. business," he added during an interview. That's not to say Old World IT honchos are opening their wallets with abandon. Indeed, IDC is going to lower its forecast for IT spending growth in Europe to 5% from 7%, and ratchet down the software spending forecast to 6% from 7%, says IDC global spending analyst Stephen Minton. Making the issue even more complicated are differences between sectors of the software market. Spending for applications, the heart of SAP's business, is weak, while spending on infrastructure items such as network management, security and operating systems is relatively strong, Minton said. A recent IDC survey showed that European executives who were holding off on major IT projects were doing so for much the same reason their U.S. counterparts were: worries over the general health of the economy, the rising price of oil, higher interest rates and the frightening instability in the Middle East.