U.S., European 2009 IT spend seen down 2 pct - UBS

LONDON, Dec 22 (Reuters) - Companies in the United States and Europe expect to spend 2 percent less on IT in 2009 after a flat 2008, with SAP AG SAPG.DE seen as most likely to benefit from any increase in spending, according to a UBS survey.

Three-quarters of 100 chief information officers surveyed said they did not wish to cancel maintenance contracts -- important sources of recurring revenue for software providers -- but 70 percent said they hoped to negotiate better terms.

Revenues of the companies surveyed for the report published on Monday ranged from $2 billion to more than $10 billion annually and they represented industries ranging from communications to healthcare to utilities.

Deployments of server computers are expected to slow, UBS said, with spending on Microsoft Corp MSFT.O Windows servers expected to grow 2 percent in 2009 after 3 percent in 2008, and open-source Linux server growth is set to be flat at 1 percent.

Linux server software is the best-selling product of Red Hat Inc RHT.N and is also a key sales driver for Novell Inc NOVL.O.

Averaging out positive and negative responses, a net 12 percent said they were likely to increase spending on German business software maker SAP’s products in 2009.

Twelve percent said they would likely cut spending with Microsoft, 15 percent said they expected to spend less with Oracle Corp ORCL.O and 19 percent said they would probably spend less with IBM IBM.N.

Spending on systems management, which includes areas such as data-centre automation to cut personnel costs, is seen growing by 1 percent next year, with U.S. market leaders BMC Software Inc BMC.N and Hewlett-Packard Co HPQ.N seen as the main beneficiaries.

Growth in sales of virtualisation software -- which allows computers to act like virtual machines by running more than one operating system, boosting their efficiency -- is seen slowing to 6 percent in 2009 from 10 percent in 2008.

Three percent said they would increase their spending on with virtualisation market leader and pioneer VMware VMW.N Inc VMW.N, which is majority-owned by EMC Corp EMC.N.

But UBS said the number of responses "barely put them on the radar screen" versus 62, 35, 33, and 24 total mentions for Microsoft, IBM, Oracle, and SAP respectively. Spending with fellow virtualisation specialist Citrix Systems Inc CTXS.O was seen flat.

“This may suggest that while virtualisation is a trend that is no doubt here to stay, it still does not have the collective mindshare as many might think,” the bank said. (Reporting by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by David Holmes)