Tech bust fears persist despite HP earnings surprise

In an attempt to stoke the most stable part of the tech market, Microsoft last week, borrowed a page from the beleaguered auto industry. The software giant is offering zero percent financing for its "enterprise resource planning" and "customer relationship management" business systems.

"We are working closely with our customers to proactively enable them to preserve their capital resources to ride out the current economic situation," says Kirill Tatarinov, vice president of Microsoft Business Solutions.

Microsoft is very likely to find more than a few takers, says Rebecca Wettemann, vice president of research at Nucleus Research.

That's because businesses are hunkering down and looking for low cost, flexible business systems that can help them boost customer loyalty. "Now is when I most want to keep my customers because it's much harder to get new ones," says Wettemann.

Hosted business applications — think and Net Suite — should do well in a downturn, as should business analytics systems that model customer behavior, says Wettemann.

Virtualization programs that boost the usability of computer servers should do well, says King. And demand for data storage systems should also remain firm "because even in hard times companies will continue to create, store and archive information," he says.

Another recession resistant tech segment: video games. The U.S. video game market grew a robust 18% in October, compared to the year earlier month, and appears to be on track for a record year, according to NPD Group. Video games "are like comfort food," says Wettemann. "People getting laid off need something to do."

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