The US may have taken the lead to date in ecommerce, but there is no reason why Europe cannot steal a march as attention shifts to mobile Internet access, according to Oracle's chairman and chief executive, Larry Ellison.
Ellison used a visit to London on the last leg of a European tour to predict that Europe would overtake the US in Internet adoption over the next few years after being held back by lack of competition in the telecoms market.
"The problem in Europe is that there is no competition for telcomms companies, which still have their monopolies. But Europe is streets ahead of the US in GSM and mobile telephony, so there's no reason why you can't jump to the next generation, the mobile Internet. Europe can very quickly make up the difference," he said.
He added: "There are lots of things that you can do with mobile Internet devices that you can't do with fixed lines. You can have stock prices paged to you, or be able to access changes in your business remotely."
Oracle is working with a number of mobile partners, including Nokia in Finland, to produce mobile Internet devices.
Ellison explained: "There is one good example in Finland of what you can do with the mobile Internet. Together with Nokia, we've built a bus tracking system in Helsinki that allows you to use your phone to see where your bus is and when it will arrive. On a cold January morning in Helsinki, that could be a life or death issue. You don't want to be standing around in the cold."
Ray Lane, Oracle's chief operating officer, said he thought attitudes towards ecommerce and the Internet had changed radically in Europe over the past year. "It used to be a kind of 'not sure, prove it to us' attitude. But now it's a 'can't do it quick enough' one."
Bertelsmann Online, a start-up division of German firm Bertelsmann AG, is an example of one such company.
It completed an international online media store, using Oracle software as its core technology, earlier this year, and also produced Web sites tailored for the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands. Additional sites for Switzerland and Spain will follow this month, with Asia Pacific sites coming later.
RISC OS 5 to form the basis of RISC OS Open after Castle Technology sells to RISC OS Developments
A smartphone maker fiddling its benchmarking scores? That's unusual, isn't it?
'We are making good progress on 10nm,' claims Intel
Engineer calculates that Chengdu's plan to replace streetlights with artificial moonlight would cost $100bn