Computer Industry Market Information: Tabular Market Data, Statistics, and Forecasts

Article excerpt

Since 1979, a small company has flourished in Sonoma County, California, home to great wines, wonderful apples, O'Reilly & Associates (that pioneer in online publishing), and yours truly. The small niche market publisher and database producer of whom I speak is located in Cloverdale, an area in Northern California better known for citrus fruit (oranges, to be exact) than high tech. Founded by statistical consultant and president Keith Parker and vice president and wife Reny Parker, Data Analysis Group began publishing Computer Industry Forecasts in 1984 as a quarterly. In 1991, Computer Industry Forecasts went online.

You can still find Computer Industry Forecasts with the file name CMPIND in three LEXIS-NEXIS libraries -- Business Reference (BUSREF) as part of the Group File Business Statistics (STATS), Computers and Communications Library (CMPCOM), and Markets and Industry Library (MARKET). Unfortunately, the publisher has not updated the LEXIS-NEXIS files since 1998. As to how long LEXIS-NEXIS will keep the 1991 to 1998 backfiles online for CMPIND, well, the handwriting is on the wall. Since historical files matter greatly to professional researchers, I'd like to see the file remain as long as possible, especially since the publisher migrated to the Web last year with archival files that start in 1996. The LEXIS-NEXIS file contains quarterly updates, but the chance of the file disappearing altogether in the not too distance future definitely exists.

A spokesperson from the Data Analysis Group explained that their new Web product, InfoTech Trends [http://www.infotechtrends.com], began in 1999. Since then they have found that updating vendors such as LEXIS-NEXIS consumes too much time and costs too much for a small company such as theirs. Unfortunately, the LEXIS-NEXIS Guide does not mention that the CMPIND File is closed, nor does it offer any explanation about why the most recent hits for a search on the Internet, for example, come from October 1998. This oversight speaks for itself, say I, shaking my head in dismay and thinking about the unwitting users who might try to find not only authoritative but current information on LEXIS-NEXIS at $20 a pop (typical transaction price for that file). If you need and expect current information for the Data Analysis Group's file, you'll have to use their Web product. Fortunately, that means you will get biweekly updates, rather than the old quarterlies, which makes the product even more current than in the past.

The LEXIS-NEXIS Guide describes Computer Industry Forecasts as "the source for business information on such topics as computers, storage, printers, terminals, communications equipment, and software." It provides sales and shipment forecasts, market share, installed base, and planned purchase statistics. The journals abstracted often derive statistics from market research firms, government reports, industry publications, and surveys. The Data Analysis Group also adds its own calculations of sales forecasts on 40 major product categories.

Data Analysis Group's New Web Site

The new InfoTech Trends Web site characterizes itself as "your source for market data on the information technology industry" and has expanded coverage to include the Internet. The Data Analysis Group ceased publication of the printed version of Computer Industry Forecasts in 1999 because of its size -- 150 pages and growing -- and because it became increasingly difficult for users to find, organize, and compare information from the print publication, especially when contrasting several quarters and years. In an effort to both save trees and make the data easier to use, the product now exists exclusively on the Web under the new name, InfoTech Trends. The old name, Computer Industry Forecasts, only exists as a LEXIS-NEXIS memory.

InfoTech Trends on the Web contains much the same content as the old Computer Industry Forecasts online, but with a simplified, user-friendly graphical interface and easy-to-use search forms for selection of categories and variables. …