There was more tech doom and gloom Tuesday as technology analyst firm Forrester again cut its 2009 U.S. IT spending forecast. The analyst firm lowered its 2009 growth projection from 6.1% to 1.6%, citing a significant drop in computer sales next year. This is the fourth time that Forrester has cut its 2009 growth forecast, from its initial projection of 10% in February. "Continued declines in purchase are in prospect for computer equipment purchases in Q4 2008 and the first half of 2009, with little or no growth in communications equipment and IT services," wrote Andrew Bartels, a Forrester principal analyst, in a statement. Software growth will slow to as little as 2% in the next few quarters, he added. Other technology analyst firms have also highlighted the increasingly uncertain nature of the PC market. IDC, for example, recently warned that U.S. shipments of personal computers are expected to drop nearly 3% next year, and Suppli recently cut its 2009 and 2010 PC growth forecasts. The latest figures from Forrester could be bad news for PC manufacturers such as Dell ( DELL) and Hewlett-Packard ( HPQ), as well as chipmakers such as Intel ( INTC). Quizzed about the PC market by an analyst during his company's recent third-quarter conference call, Dell CEO Michael Dell refused even to "hazard a guess" on the possibility of negative growth next year, underlining the uncertain nature of the economy. Forrester nonetheless predicts a turnaround in IT spending by summer 2009, boosted by lower interest rates and energy costs.
"Transportation and logistics companies, and chemical companies in particular, will benefit from lower energy costs, raising the likelihood that they will continue to make tech purchases in 2008," wrote Bartels. The analyst predicts also that falling interest rates will lift the tech sector. "These lower interest rates will start to improve the financial performance of banks and securities