Information technology (IT) and broadband are major drivers of research, innovation, economic growth and social change. The 2008 edition of the OECD Information Technology Outlook analyses recent developments in the IT goods and services industries, and suggests that the outlook is for continued long-term growth, constrained by the currently very uncertain macroeconomic environment in OECD countries but with somewhat higher growth possible elsewhere. The industry is organised internationally. Cross-border investment, trade, and mergers and acquisitions remain high, and ICTs drive globalisation in general. The industry is rapidly restructuring with non-OECD countries, particularly China and India, as major suppliers of information and communications technology (ICT)-related goods and services. The ICT industry is the major performer of R&D; many other industries undertake ICT R&D; and ICT-related R&D drives innovation and new goods and services in many industries. This edition analyses the impact of high-speed broadband on the economy, and areas of future impacts. The Internet is changing everyday life for 1.5 billion people worldwide, with their socio-economic standing influencing how they use the Web. The dynamic growth of digital-content-based creative industries is outlined, covering user-created content; online computer and video games; film, video and music; and online advertising. Recent trends in OECD ICT policies are analysed to assess whether they are rising to these new challenges. Highly prioritised policy areas include investing in ICT R&D and innovation, improving government online activities, spreading broadband, increasing the use of ICTs, raising ICT skills and employment, and supporting digital content development. Changing policy priorities are reviewed.
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