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Go Green or Save Green?

There was plenty of green talk from vendors and government officials at last week's United Nations conference on information and communications technology and climate change, although it is clear that users want to start seeing some solid ROI on eco-friendly technologies.

Apparently, not all IT managers and CIOs have the same mindset as Al Gore, something which vendors should keep at the forefront of their marketing efforts. "Customers won't pay more for a green product," said Patricia Calkins, vice president of environmental issues at copier and printer giant Xerox, during a keynote presentation. "We shouldn't think 'gee, can I get more [money] for this?'"

The Xerox exec admitted that, while there are some 'green' technology geeks out there willing to pay top dollar for environmentally friendly technology, most users are still looking to get a bang for their buck.

Whereas younger users might be more easily swayed by the "social" benefits of green technology, this is not necessarily the case for their older co-workers, according to Erik Riedel, a director at Seagate's Research division. "The younger folks tend to think of the social benefits more quickly," he told Byte and Switch, explaining that economic benefits tend to drive discussions with the old guard.

With users under immense pressure to harness their spiraling energy costs, vendors have rushed to jump on the green bandwagon during recent months. A perfect example of this is IBM, which announced plans to throw $1 billion into green initiatives earlier this year, using the same press conference to talk up their blade and virtualization products.

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