View Full Version : Consumers, not governments, should decide IT winners: US

10th January 2007, 05:06
Consumers, not governments, should decide IT winners: US (http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070109/tc_afp/uschinafranceit)
by Glenn Chapman

China should not shackle Internet companies and France should leave Apple's iPod-iTunes bond alone, the US commerce secretary said at the world's largest consumer electronics show.

New technologies changing the world and fueling economic growth worldwide should be free to thrive, Carlos Gutierrez (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=Carlos+Gutierrez)said at an international technology policy forum at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

"We believe that governments should not be involved in picking winners or losers," Gutierrez said. "We look with great concern when any country creates a standard that impedes competition and obstructs investment."

The Department of Commerce head said US officials were "working very hard" to make certain China insures "net neutrality" instead of using local regulations to control the Internet.

"We believe net neutrality that takes the government out of decisions is the best way forward," Gutierrez said.

"What we seek is an open environment so innovations from all over the world can be exposed to consumers throughout the world and not have isolated pockets of standards."

US officials were also engaging the French government to insure companies are not forced to share proprietary technology.

Gutierrez told AFP he was "absolutely" saying that France should not force California's Apple Computer break the exclusive bond between iPod MP3 players and its iTunes online music and movie store.

"Consumers should pick winners or losers and innovation should be the drivers," Gutierrez said.

Tens of thousands of people from 110 countries were among the estimated 140,000 attending the 40th annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, according to organizers.

"The future will be created through innovation," Gutierrez told those gathered for a policy panel discussion by representatives from Japan, Brazil and the United States.

"We need to recognize that innovation will be what shapes the economics and communications landscape of the future."

By the year 2010, the number of homes in which people watch television via the Internet is forecast to rise to 50 million from just a few million in 2005.

There were only 11,000 wireless Internet "hot spots" in 2003 compared to approximately 132,000 in more than 100 countries today, the secretary said.

The administration of US President George W. Bush (http://search.news.yahoo.com/search/news/?p=President+George+W.+Bush)backs legislation introduced in Congress this session to extend the 1993 Internet tax moratorium that is set to expire in November, Gutierrez said.

"We need to keep Internet access tax free, Gutierrez said.

Government regulations in the US telecommunications industry are archaic in comparison to marketplace changes wrought by technology and should be dismantled, he continued.

"Much of our regulation was put in place in the late nineties, which these days seems like decades ago," Gutierrez said.

"We need policies to enhance environments in which technology can reach frontiers once not imaginable."