Electronic Design

Here's Hoping For A Brighter And More Peaceful 2003

Welcome to our last issue of 2002. This is the end of our year-long celebration commemorating Electronic Design's 50th year as a leading technical publication covering the OEM electronics industry. In preparation for the new year and the beginning of the next 50 years, the editorial staff of Electronic Design has revamped the magazine to better serve you.

We'll kick off 2003 with a redesigned Electronic Design that sports better graphics, a wider range of topics in every issue, and several new article formats to provide more insight into the design process. We're making these changes because you, our readers, have told us how your job is changing and how your information needs are evolving between printed information and the World Wide Web and the Internet.

Although this year has brought our golden anniversary, it has also been a year of tough times for the electronics industry. The economy remains sluggish, which has led to more layoffs, project cutbacks, and reduced spending for infrastructure. All that has, in turn, reduced the tax base. So, there's less money for state and federal programs. The weak economy is affecting everyone in the community, not just the high-tech workforce.

Additionally, our nation is responding to threats of terrorism and conflicts, mostly from the Middle East. Certainly the investments in new technology and people to help counter the threats could have paid for many social programs. Yet should another significant act of terrorism occur, the damage done to our economy would be even more devastating than any program cutbacks. We must do everything possible to prevent such an incident. Furthermore, beyond being prudent, we must find a way to make terrorists realize that more can be gained by sitting down, talking, and making a few compromises.

Potential conflicts also threaten the world economy by casting uncertainty over the supply of oil and the stability of the various governments that seem poised on the brink of all-out war. As we look forward to 2003, I hope the game of brinkmanship that our country and others are caught up in playing can come to a peaceful conclusion. Let's wish for the diplomats to find ways to diffuse tense situations, and for terrorist organizations to realize that their activities are counterproductive. I know these are lofty wishes, but even a few steps toward peaceful solutions would be a welcome sign.

Moreover, the soft economies of the U.S. and other nations are directly linked to the world turmoil--the greater the turmoil, the less likely it is that the economies will get back on track. Political stability is the best platform for economic growth because investors are reluctant to make investments for industry growth when conflicts exist.

Many market analysts have attempted to predict when the market will come back, or at least start to pick up. No one predicts a rapid return to the robust economy that we enjoyed just two-and-a-half years ago. Still, many market prognosticators feel that the slowdown has reached its lowest level. Many now believe that in the first half of 2003, the market will slowly start its climb back to a reasonable level of growth ex-pected during the second half of the year.

Not all market sectors may recover at the same time, however. The networking and data communications sectors will probably take the most time to recover as there is currently more infrastructure than needed. This has also dragged several semiconductor sectors down because FPGAs and ASICs are key building blocks for communication subsystems. On the other hand, the wireless sector is already showing strong growth. This will increase as users become accustomed to the new mobility and features of wireless connectivity.

From the entire staff of Electronic Design, I want to take this opportunity to wish you, your family, and your friends a happy and safe holiday season.

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