Fiorina predicts steep growth for IT sector

Carly Fiorina, chief executive of HP, laments that the industry is 'not what it used to be' and quashes rumours that she might be about to run for political office

In the wake of the dot-com bust, what sort of growth can we expect from the tech industry?

Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina sees a slowdown from the breakneck pace of the 1990s but faster expansion than GDP (gross domestic product).

In an interview in today's Wall Street Journal Europe, Fiorina said: "I think that the tech industry is going to grow at two times GDP growth, not at five times GDP growth. It was a five-times-GDP-growth-industry in the late 1990s, and that was unsustainable."

And she's pleased with that. "Two times GDP is an OK growth industry," she continued. "But it's not what it used to be."

Fiorina is predicting twice the growth rate as Richard Holway, influential industry analyst at Ovum Holway, who is expected tonight to reiterate his stance that tech is like other mature industries which mirror GDP growth. Holway will speak at the Prince's Trust Technology Leadership Group in London.

The way to navigate today's tech market, according to Fiorina, is to focus on becoming "more efficient and effective", getting more money from existing customers and "leveraging capabilities" a company already has.

Holway is expected to concur with these basic points as well, though he pointed out in a research note today that "actually executing the transformation is incredibly difficult. HP's share price has slumped since it acquired Compaq whereas its closest competitor, Dell, has thrived."

The drop in HP's stock price, which is down 50 percent since Fiorina came to the helm, could be partly behind recent rumours that she may leave the company for a career in politics.

But Fiorina put this talk to rest. When asked how long she intends to stay at HP, she told the WSJE: "I know that every leader has a season and there will come a time when my season is over. But it's not yet, and it's not now. We have a lot left to do in terms of really achieving leverage and leadership, and I want to do that."

So is she considering running for office? "You shouldn't worry about that," she said. "We had our senior leaders' meeting several days ago and I said [to everyone] that it has come to my attention that there are a lot of rumours. I'm here to tell you that I'm not going anywhere."