HANNOVER – It was a dark and stormy night. As we walked the narrow, rainy streets from the train station, bundled tightly against the blustery cold, Eric Lundquist and I looked like characters out of one of those cold-war spy movies. But of course, that’s not how it really was. We weren’t in a spy movie.
But it was night, so of course it was dark. And the weather across Europe has basically been crummy, so the streets were wet, it was windy, and it was a relief to reach our hotel. It will also be nice to start our coverage of CeBIT. We already know from people we’ve seen heading here that the show is becoming more international than ever. All of Europe is part of CeBIT of course, but this show is huge for Asian manufacturers and buyers, visitors from the Mid-east are showing up.
In fact, this show is considered so important that the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, will officially open the show tonight.
But what to expect? The talk among my colleagues in the press seems to indicate that the hot areas of development are taking place in, and are aimed at, Asia and Europe. China’s economy is a massive force in the tech industry, and Europe’s economy, while adversely affected by troubles in the U.S., is still strong and vibrant. We’ll see products introduced here that will only make it to the U.S. long after they settle in elsewhere in the world.
Notably absent from this global powerhouse of a trade show are U.S. companies. While big names like IBM and Microsoft will appear, they’ll be represented by their European offices. The companies – ranging from security to manufacturing to enterprise applications – simply don’t seem to be able to look beyond the borders of the U.S.
I could of course, be wrong about all of this. Maybe we’ll see a big U.S. presence here. Perhaps U.S. business leaders will show up to see what the state of the technological economy has become elsewhere in the world. But right now it doesn’t look that way, and it’s too bad. Most of the technology business exists outside the U.S. now, and ignoring the rest of the world by the U.S. technology business only ensures it stays that way.