Europe is suffering from a technology deficit, and is in danger of passing it on to future generations.
This was the message from Andy Grove, president and CEO of Intel, as he toured Europe last week. He warned that the US and Asia are outstripping Europe in the adoption of new technologies, putting Europe at a competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace.
He pointed out that sales of PCs in the US are greater than those in Europe by a factor of 2:1, and said the gap in Internet usage between the continents is unlikely to get any smaller. But the real problem, he remarked, is the "huge disparity" in the use of Email, with use of Email in the US 10 times that in Europe. This means companies over here do not have an effective and speedy means of communication, he claimed.
Grove ended his London speech, which he delivered to 1,300 top IT professionalss, by suggesting they have a moral duty to evangelise new technology.
"As IT professionals, you have the job of nurturing a corporate's network, but also the opportunity and responsibility to alert your employers to the potentials technology brings to increase business competitiveness," he concluded.
However, James Bates, analyst at UK research firm Context, said fears that Europe is falling behind have been exaggerated. He explained that Internet usage is less on the continent because as a medium it is more suited to a homogeneous market such as America, with a single language and currency. Another prime factor is that technology is more expensive in Europe - PC hardware and software costs are 30% to 40% dearerr here than in the US, according to Bates.
"PC technology is not the only thing that determines competitiveness," he argued. "It may be true that Europe is behind the US, and that can't be good. But IT is just one aspect of doing business."
It's not surprising that Andy Grove is urging Europe to increase its adoption of new technologies - he wants us to buy more of his kit. If Grove is so concerned, perhaps he should consider bringing down his prices then we might decide to buy more.
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