Supplementary Memorandum by EURIM
The Select Committee asked why, if the UK really
was ahead of the rest of the EU, it had nothing equivalent to
I have asked John Riley, who regularly attends
CeBIT on behalf of Computer Weekly to do you a note on his impressions
of this years' Show. I attended the IT Skills Summit in Brussels
on Tuesday (covered in the UK press).
The salient points that I take from John's report
back to me and the IDC presentation at the IT Skills Summit are:
(1) Non-UK observers expect Germany, not
the UK, to be the powerhouse of EU e-commerce. It is only those
Brits who do not follow what is happening elsewhere who think
we are ahead of the rest of Europe. We are said to be noisy in
EU meetings and tend not to listen to others, let alone understand
what they are saying if they do not have good English.
(2) There is a widespread expectation in
other parts of the EU that WAP (Wireless) Mobiles will be more
important than PCs and browsers for business to consumer e-commerce
before the year is out (c.f. UK forecasts for Digital TV being
more important). The French Minitel experience with the business
to consumer market and that of Sweden and Finland with local language
websites is felt by many to be more relevant to EU markets than
that of the USA.
(3) There is a growing German/Scandinavian
trend towards using Linux rather than Windows as the "glue"
to link the websites to the supply chain to provide reliable and
cost-effective fulfilment (with the UK seen as being well behind
in this area).
(4) The UK is now seen as an exporter of
IS/IT skills (particularly to Germany and the US). This is expected
to increase. The reasons are partly to do with contract rates
and partly to do with after-tax earnings and life-style for high-paid
youngsters working abroad.
I do not necessarily agree with all these points
but believe they merit serious consideration.
Secretary General, EURIM
10 March 2000