Year 2000 Cooperation:
A British parliament member hopes to build support in Washington for international cooperation "on a wartime scale" to ensure that problems arising from the year 2000 computer flaw are kept to a minimum.
David Atkinson, a conservative member of Britain's House of Commons, last week discussed the issue with White House officials and members of Congress. They included Rep. Connie Morella, R-Md., Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, and Sally Katzen, deputy assistant to the president for economic policy.
Atkinson also has urged British Prime Minister Tony Blair to place the year 2000 threat at the top of the agenda at upcoming summits of the G8 and the European Union. He criticized Blair's Labor Party government for its slow action on the problem.
A coalition of leading information technology companies and associations is urging the Federal Communications Commission to keep regulation of the Internet to a minimum.
The Internet Access Coalition claims additional fees and regulatory burdens imposed on the Internet industry would hurt consumers and the economy by making those services less affordable and less accessible. IAC members include America Online Inc., Compaq Computer Corp., Intel Corp., IBM Corp. and Microsoft Corp.
The FCC is examining whether more regulation of the Internet is necessary and whether Internet service providers should pay additional fees into a special Universal Service Fund, originally created for telephone companies. The agency is expected to issue a report to Congress April 10.
Microsoft's tie-in of its World Wide Web browser with its operating system poses no greater threat to competition "than the packaging of tires with automobiles," according to a new study by the Washington-based Cato Institute.
In the study, titled "Microsoft and the Browser Wars," Cato Institute legal scholar Robert A. Levy warns that the Justice Department's antitrust action against Microsoft threatens a marketplace where competition and innovation are so extraordinary that monopoly power simply cannot last.
In related news, Microsoft has decided to revise business deals it has with some 40 Internet service providers and allow them to promote browsing software made by other companies.
- Patrick Seitz