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High-tech world gathers in Germany for CeBIT fair

Technical advances that can save companies money will be a top theme at the at the CeBIT fair opening here Tuesday, as the high-tech world gathers to look for new directions even as the prospect of war in Iraq dims the already gloomy outlook. One key number suggests the mood: the number of exhibitors at the world’s biggest technology fair has fallen almost 20 percent from last year, to around 6,500 from 8,000. Some participants from past years have gone out of business, and others are trimming costs by staying home. “The crisis in the sector isn’t passing CeBIT by,” said Ulrich Koch, spokesman for Deutsche Messe AG, which hosts the show. Cost-cutters such as open-source software and using the Internet to carry phone calls will be the subject of more than a few sales pitches, observers say. IBM, for example, is expected to show off “self-optimizing” software that lets businesses spread sudden surges in user demand over more computers. Full Story

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