But overall IT spending and employment growth will be modest over the next few years, according to this Microsoft-sponsored report, released today .
By the end of 2010, more than 177 million copies of Windows 7 will be "in place" worldwide, with about 60 million in the U.S. The Windows contribution to this growth will include $41 billion in the Microsoft ecosystem spent by the end of next year by companies that are developing, marketing, supporting and developing services around Windows 7, IDC reported.
However, Windows 7's release won't dramatically reshape IT spending. Market research firm IDC also estimates that IT spending in the U.S. this year on hardware, software and services will reach $525.5 billion, and increase about 2 percent to $536 billion next year. Spending through 2013 will see a compound annual growth rate of 2.3 percent.
In terms of jobs, IDC is predicting about a 1.5 percent increase in IT related jobs next year, for a compound annual growth rate of 1.6 percent. IDC counts nearly 11 million people working in tech today, but this includes everyone from engineers, who design software, to retail clerks, who sell computers. "The fact that it is growing at all is pretty good," said John Gantz, one of the analysts who prepared the study of the employment growth.
The overall market for Windows continues to expand. Its software now runs 56 percent of all the software in the world, from 50 percent in 2007, said Gantz. He said much of the gain has been the result of a shift from RISC-based to Intel-based architectures, but "we do feel that Windows 7 is a net creator of jobs."
The more immediate outlook for IT hiring is somewhere between flat to slightly improving.
One Canadian firm that relies on automation to assess hiring, Wanted Technologies, says it experiuenced a 1.1 percent increase in hiring demand last month.
The firm uses Web crawlers to check every help-wanted ad on 1,400 jobs boards and corporate Web sites, cleans up the data by eliminating duplicates, and then give the jobs federal job classifications to help compare them with government data.
But the growth in job postings follows a big drop. About this time last year, the number of online IT-related job ads posted each week was 80,000; it's now 48,000.
Wanted Technologies data roughly parallels what job board Dice.com has been showing in its monthly reports. Last month, it had about 49,500 jobs posted on its site, as opposed to 85,600 for the same period a year ago.