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Global IT Firms Display Their Wares at Gitex.

Summary: DUBAI u His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, inaugurated the regionAEs largest information and communication technology trade show on Sunday, at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Shaikh Mohammed toured Gitex 2009, accompanied by Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and senior government officials, perusing innovations, products and services on offer from more than 3,000 companies, including many of the tech world's biggest names.

The highlight of the five-day show is the much-hyped global preview of Windows 7 software from Microsoft Corporation . Gitex has established itself as "the platform of choice" for global IT companies to introduce products and new industry knowledge, Microsoft's Corporate Vice-President Steven Guggenheimer said in a keynote speech.

Helal Saeed Almarri, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai World Trade Centre, said: "We are already seeing huge interest this year, as the industry gets together and discusses opportunities for the future." In one positive sign, International Data Corporation has issued upbeat projections that IT spending in the Middle East and Africa region in 2009 would hit $39 billion.

But with the pall of recession hanging over the show, the first day of Gitex was noticeably more subdued than last year, when the fair drew more than 3,300 exhibitors and a bigger crowd of visitors on its opening day.

Deena Habib, Sun Microsystems' Regional Marketing Manager for the Middle East and North Africa, said that she and her staff were "a bit worried" ahead of this year's fair and even considered not participating, due partly to the economic situation.

As Gitex prepared to open, however, Habib said she was feeling "quite positive. C* Fingers crossed, it will be a good show. I'm not as nervous as I was six months ago." Aa

Gitex occupies more space this year than in 2008, signalling its powerful appeal in the region and "disproving the gloomy expectations," said Ahmad Zeidan, Channel Sales Manager for Netgear Middle East.

issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com

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Publication:Khaleej Times (Dubai, United Arab Emirates)
Date:Oct 20, 2009
Words:354
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