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01/25/2006

Different or Similar? Technology Gap Between Small Offices and Home-based Businesses Is Decreasing, IDC Finds

FRAMINGHAM, MA – JANUARY 25, 2006 – Very small offices (SO) and home-based offices (HO) are often regarded as distinct markets for the purpose of IT marketing and sales: one is part of small business, the other part of consumer. In many respects however, they are very similar, and the technology gap between the two segments will decrease in the coming years, a new IDC study reveals.

"The SOHO market continues to bridge the consumer and commercial technology space, with significant opportunity for suppliers who can deliver affordable, easy to use solutions", said Merle Sandler, senior research analyst for SMB and Home Office Market at IDC. "Whether operating inside or outside the home, SOHO customers are interested in advanced technology that can help them grow their businesses."

Among key highlights of IDC's overview of SOHO firms are the following:

— SOHO firms will reach 23.1 million by the end of 2009.

— Penetration rates for cellular phones, PCs, and inkjet printers are similar and substantial for both SOHO segments.

— Monochrome laser printer ownership is higher in small offices than in home offices, but with declining prices, color laser printers will be increasingly attractive to both segments.

— LAN usage is higher among small offices than home offices, but networking use will grow significantly in both types of businesses in the coming years.

— Online small offices are more likely to have a home page than are online home offices, but home offices with a home page are more likely to be selling online.

IDC's new study, SOHO Market Overview 2006: How Similar Are Small Businesses with Fewer Than 10 Employees and Home-Based Businesses? (IDC #34776) examines the similarities and differences between SOHO firms – small offices with fewer than 10 employees (SO) and income-generating home offices (HO). The study forecasts the growth of both SOHO segments and compares their use of technologies including telecommunications, PCs, printers, LANs, Internet and ecommerce.

To purchase this document, call IDC's Sales hotline at 508-988-7988 or email sales@idc.com.

About IDC

IDC is the premier global market intelligence and advisory firm in the information technology and telecommunications industries. We analyze and predict technology trends so that our clients can make strategic, fact-based decisions on IT purchases and business strategy. Over 700 IDC analysts in 50 countries provide local expertise and insights on technology markets. Business executives and IT managers have relied for 40 years on our advice to make decisions that contribute to the success of their organizations.

IDC is a subsidiary of IDG, the world's leading technology media, research, and events company. Additional information can be found at www.idc.com .

All product and company names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

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