Survey Finds Optimism Among Tech Execs

Despite turmoil in global markets, two-thirds of senior technology industry executives polled in a new survey say the economic slowdown will not hurt them as badly as the bursting of the tech bubble in 2000. However, more than three-quarters of respondents say their business has been impacted by the financial crisis, according to the study 2008 Technology Leaders Forecast Survey, which was released on Monday by the law firm DLA Piper.

Still, only 27% said they were cutting sales and marketing expenditures, and only 15% said they were reducing planned R&D spending. The executives were surveyed between Sept 23 and Oct 6.

“That suggests that most of the companies are focused on the fact that this crisis would not have a big impact on them or that they wanted to continue to make investments through this cycle,” said Peter Astiz, global co-head of the technology sector practice at DLA Piper.

Slightly more than half of the respondents think the economy will begin to rebound in the second half of 2009, while nearly a third think it will not happen until 2010 or later. However, a majority agree that the market for initial public offerings—often seen as a sign of truth health in the technology industry—is not likely to rebound until at least 2010.

The poll received 145 responses from senior executives at technology companies and venture capital firms in the technology sector. Separately, a study found that overall VC investment in the third quarter dipped one percent from the previous quarter to $7.37 billion, according to data compiled by Dow Jones VentureSource. That figure is 7% lower than a year ago.

Investment in information technology companies fell 10% from the second quarter to $2.73 billion. A bright spot came in renewable energy, which saw investment surge 71% from the second quarter to a record $1.08 billion.

(Reporting by Gabriel Madway. Editing by Carol Bishopric.)