Congress' Office of Technology Assessment is offering a way to square one problematic circle; how can the U.S. government distribute technology development grants without also helping foreign-owned firms operating in the United States?
The OTA's report, "Multinationals And The U.S. Technology Base," was released Oct. 18, and suggests the U.S. government review each company's level of U.S.-based R&D, ensure the R&D grant is spent in the United States, and guarantee that manufacturing of the technology be performed in the United States. The OTA report also said the U.S. should only give grants to foreign-owned companies from countries that treat U.S. companies similarly.
The chart below shows how just little R&D investment is made by foreign firms based in the United States.

While waiting for the revival of the telecom reform effort, the RBOCs' legal beagles can practice their skills by killing a new proposal to ban the use of cellular phones during debates in the House of Representatives.
The move, contained in a set of changes created by a task force of House Democrats, was prompted by the chirping of cellular phones owned by such luminaries as Rep. Sam Gejdenson, D-Conn., and Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.
If RBOC lobbyists are only half as good as they claim, they should be able to make use of the cellular phones mandatory.

Have you got any friends in the defense industry too nervous to plunge into civilian work? Perhaps this quote will prod them into taking the leap: "We want to eliminate the defense industry,"
Kenneth Flamm, the principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for dual-use technology and international programs, said Oct. 14 at a Washington, D.C., conference.
Now Kenneth did offer a caveat, saying he was being brutally over-dramatic, and that a core defense industry would remain to provide the missiles, submarines and tanks needed in 2010.
But whenever possible, military needs will be met by commercial products and commercial practices, rather than by the higher-cost, military-only defense industry, he said.

A Cambridge, Mass.-based firm says it can help individuals and businesses build and open a new store in about three hours. But don't expect to walk through its front door, because the company isn't furnishing construction materials -- it's offering a virtual Storefront on the Internet.
Open Market, Inc. has just unveiled a set of products and services it says will make it easy to establish a commercial presence on the Internet.
The new firm is offering a complete electronic infrastructure for establishing and managing a business on the Net, including software to build an on-line store and provide a secure payment system for buying and selling on-line goods.
StoreBuilder sells for $1,500 plus an ongoing monthly fee, based on the size of the store created and the number of transactions.
Shikhar Ghosh, Open Market's co-founder and CEO: "By automating the process of putting a business on-line, we will enable thousands of merchants to get onto the Internet."

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