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Technology directors know that cost-cutting has always been something of a bad joke. Sure, there are the falling prices, on everything from laptops to data storage to BlackBerrys. But capital costs are just part of the equation. A PC that cost $1,500 when a firm did its last hardware refresh might cost $800 now, yet it still takes between $3,500 and $5,000 per year to support that computer, according to the market research firm Gartner, Inc. Factor in, too, that as law firms grow (and merge), they’re buying more gear and sophisticated systems to integrate these tools. So while a product’s price tag may plummet, the tech budget — and the CIO’s blood pressure — rarely does. In today’s economy, that’s a problem.

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