Microsoft CEO: IT spending won't fully recover

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that corporate spending on information technology will not recover to levels seen in recent years before the global economic slowdown.

"The economy went through a set of changes on a global basis over the course of the last year which are, I think is fair to say, once in a lifetime," Ballmer told a meeting of South Korean executives in Seoul.

Spending on information technology, which accounted for about half of capital expenditures in developed countries before the crisis, was unlikely to rebound fully because capital was more scarce these days, he said.

"While we will see growth, we will not see recovery," Ballmer said.

Ballmer was in Seoul to meet corporate and government officials and tout the Redmond, Washington-based company's new Windows 7 operating system. The latest edition of Windows, the software that runs personal computers, was released last month.

He said company purchases of PCs and servers were down about 15 per cent globally.

"It reflects the fact that CEOs have much more tightly constrained IT budgets," he said.

Separately, South Korean technology giant Samsung Electronics said it will work with Microsoft to find ways to make computers more energy efficient.

The announcement followed a meeting between Ballmer and Samsung CEO Lee Yon-woo. The company also said it will upgrade its corporate PCs worldwide with Microsoft's new operating system next year.