Examination of Witnesses (Questions 940
WEDNESDAY 24 MAY 2000
940. I, too, found your presentation absolutely
admirable, and well done. The bottom has fallen out, to a great
extent, of the dot.com market, principally, I believe, because
the firms involved sell by no other method. Do you ever see a
dot.com company only selling by means of the internet actually
making a profit out of it?
(Ms Patel) Yes, Amazon is the best. It is not making
a profit yet, but I think it is the best and one of the strongest
that could possibly do it.
(Ms Gandhi) It is possible, but I reckon the dot.com
companies would have to have a lot of patience to be able to do
(Ms Patel) It is very difficult with certain entities
such as clothing manufactures. Consumers would like to touch the
clothes and see them, whereas with music, you could have a sample
of the music.
941. Lots of people buy clothes by mail order
quite happily. Quite happily.
(Ms Patel) Yes. The quality of a picture is a bit
better than a tiny little picture on a computer screen.
(Ms Gandhi) Also, you find that mail order has been
done for a very long time, so people have more confidence.
942. So you see it as a confidence issue, do
(Ms Gandhi) Yes.
( Ms Shah) Once the companies get over their initial
set-up costs, once they can cover that, then they will be making
a profit. It is usually the initial set-up costs that are basically
the things that are bringing them down.
Chairman: We have time for one more question.
Lord Cavendish of Furness
943. Thank you. I particularly liked the way
you backed up your answers with examples. Regulation: I think
the history of regulation is at best patchy. I think an example
was given of pirating music. What I really want to put to you
is, which do you think is best? To regulate against piracy of
music (if indeed that is possible), or, for instance, using an
example of giving tax concessions, to try and prevent that piracy
in the first place? That is only an inquiry. Can you comment on
that? Do you have confidence in regulation, as opposed to trying
to avoid the thing that you are trying to regulate internally?
(Ms Patel) I think on certain issues like that, internal
regulation might be good, if they could develop the technology
as well. I think certainly in the music industry business it will
help, and give the motivation to stop piracy, and they will try
and avoid it. Government legislation through tax would probably
Chairman: I think we are more or less there.
Are there any final points? You have your chance to say anything
more you would like to say to us, if you wish? Thank you very