Moumita Bakshi Chatterjee

THE year saw the hardware sector competing with the software sector in terms of performance. Implementation of the IT Agreement from March 2005 brought 217 items to nil Customs duty, setting the competitive pace for the market.

Despite initial apprehensions, the domestic PC manufacturing industry thrived and overall the market sold close to 4.5 million PCs in 2005 against 3.5 million shipped in 2004.

Homegrown companies such as HCL and Xenitis launched low-cost PCs to entice the mass market, although the sub Rs 10,000 price tag did not seem to cut much ice with dealers or customers.

Xenitis's Rs 9,990 PC powered by Cyrix1.0 GHz processor came with a Linux operating system, a 40 GB hard disk and 128 MB RAM, while HCL Infosystems's new low-cost offering sported an AMD x861.6 GHz processor at a similar price.

At a time when a rush of announcements from the likes of Flextronics, Elcoteq, Ericsson, LG, and Nokia galvanised the telecom manufacturing market, the IT sector too had reason to rejoice, with AMD announcing an agreement with SemIndia, a consortium, to supply technology for a proposed $3-billion chip-making facility in the country.

India also played host to high-profile visitors, including Cisco's Mr John Chambers, AMD's Dr Hector Ruiz, IBM's Mr Samuel J. Palmisano, Intel's Dr Craig Barrett, and Microsoft's Mr Bill Gates during the year - an indication of growing importance of the market in global boardrooms.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 2, 2006)
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