The fall-out from the dotcom 'meltdown' is still hitting technology spending, particularly in the US, according to a report.
Not all countries are embracing the internet
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) survey into 'e-readiness' assesses the internet business environment of different countries.
It suggested that economic uncertainty has cut technology spending further in the past year and scaled back initiatives in the public sector.
But the report concluded that a quieter internet revolution is continuing, with Sweden topping the league of most 'e-ready' environments.
"The frenzy of the dotcom years has gone but the quiet work of harnessing the internet to drive efficiencies in both business and government has, if anything, intensified," said Daniel Franklin, editorial director of the EIU.
Overtaking the US
The EIU's survey seeks to benchmark world countries according to their 'e-readiness', which it describes as "the extent to which a market is conducive to internet-based opportunities".
When the EIU's survey started in 2000, the US led the pack.
But the downturn in the US economy has left the lead open to Scandinavian countries. Sweden is now in the number one slot, followed by Denmark in second place.
In contrast to their north European neighbours, southern Europeans still regard the internet sceptically and are reluctant to move online, according to the EIU.
Among the region's stragglers are Italy in 21st position, Portugal in 22nd and Spain in 23rd place.
However, the survey suggested most countries had improved their scores since last year.
It took into account a country's quality of IT infrastructure, government initiatives and commercial efficiencies provided by the internet.