REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 1, 1999 — Speaking this weekend at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Microsoft Corp. Chairman and CEO Bill Gates highlighted strong PC penetration, the amazing proliferation of information technologies and rapid Internet adoption as key forces driving the globalization trend in businesses worldwide. His remarks underscored the theme of this year’s gathering in Davos, where hundreds of politicians, business leaders and intellectuals this week are focusing on global responsibility.
Gates said that the growth and opportunities in technology are not only a U.S. phenomena. Growth in PC shipments in many European markets, for example, outpaced the United States, with some markets seeing a greater than 20 percent increase in PC shipments last year.
Gates pointed in particular to an initiative in Sweden where the government and participating companies are offering PCs for home use to employees at a substantial savings. As incentives for this program, employees are offered a combination of pretax deductions from earnings and the ability to spread payments for their computer over a three-year period. As a result, home PC penetration in Sweden has jumped from 31 percent to 45 percent, and is expected to continue growing.
“This is a great example of an innovative partnership between government and business that helps close the local skills gap and makes information more accessible to a broader range of people,”
Gates also pointed to the worldwide trend of falling PC prices and the incredible growth in Internet shopping this past holiday season as indications of the continued momentum of the PC industry. In addition, he praised the recent decision by the French government to liberalize encryption controls and underscored the need for a global encryption standard to support the momentum behind electronic commerce.
Gates also predicted that by next year there will be more serious efforts behind purely digital distribution of music and books, including the first eBook products that capitalize on improvements in screen technology and software advances such as Microsoft® ClearType technology.
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