As we begin a two week countdown to the launch of the euro, the IT press has turned its attention to mulling over industry's state of preparedness. Business Week estimates European businesses will be forking out to the tune of $65 billion before 2002 to get the job done. The millennium bug is in the news again, with the government advising you to buy a little extra at Sainsburys the week before the witching hour, The Economist says British TV is not selling abroad well enough, and poor old Sage get it in the neck from the city despite posting healthy profits. Did I miss something? If you spot an interesting item about computing or the Internet, send it to me, Eugene Lacey, Editor in Chief of ZDNet UK. I have an exclusive ZDNet pen to send out for every item published in Lacey's Paper Round.
Government will advise people to buy extra food for millennium -- The Observer
In a front page lead, yesterday's Observer reported Gwynneth Flower's advice to families that they should put a little extra in the trolley at Tesco this time next year. Flower is head of the government's Action 2000 millennium bug task force. 'We are talking about people having a judicious amount of surplus food in their kitchen cupboards. Any one sensible would plan for this' said Flower. According to The Observer "it has now emerged that large numbers of government, utilities and corporate computer systems that control every aspect of our lives will not be ready for the turn of the century." The Observer, December 13, 1998.
Europe rounds the e-commerce corner -- Wall Street Journal
"This was the year Europe rounded the e-commerce corner"..."many retailers realized that traditional US strategies wouldn't work in London or Paris, and came back to the market with locally tailored sites that struck a chord with Euorpean shoppers"..."It really clicked this year" says Patrick McHugh, vice president of the strategic information technolgy practice at AT Kearney in London.". Wall Street Journal, December 11-12, 1998.
Sony tightens artists' contracts to include online rights -- Financial Times
Sony "has instructed its record labels to ensure that a comprehensive range of online rights are included in artists' recording contracts...The labels will have to renegotiate the contracts of existing Sony acts - which include such superstars as Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and Jamiroquai" Financial Times, December 8, 1998.
Sage results disapoint the city -- The Daily Telegraph
The city can be unforgiving when technolgy firms don't meet forecast profits, as Sage found out last week, reports The Daily Telegraph. "A layer of gloss came off Sage, one of the darlings of the computer services sector, after the accounting software group yesterday failed to exceed full year profit forecasts by as much as expected..."One analyst said he had expected to have to upgrade his 1999 forecast by about 5pc, but would now make a smaller upgrade." The Daily Telegraph, December 10, 1998.
Western Europe's power stations may not be ready for the millennium -- The Guardian, Online
Following reports that the former Soviet Union's nuclear power stations may not be millennium-proof a report published last week by the European Parliament "expresses concern at "the lack of available information on Year 2000 preparedness in the sector of energy production, transport and distribution -- in particular unclear energy." -- suggesting that Western Europe's power stations may also have a question mark about how prepared their computer systems are for the millennium. The Guardian, Online, December 10, 1998.
Retooling for the euro will cost European business $65 billion -- Business Week
Business Week articulates the pro-euro views of many European businesses but also lists some of the downsides -- most notably the costs of tooling up for the euro. "Retooling for the euro is expected to cost European business $65 billion between now and July, 2002, when the old currencies disappear."..."Many of the most dramatic benefits of the European Monetary Union, far from being automatic, will come slowly--and only to companies that are prepared." Business Week, December 14, 1998.
British TV losing market share in foreign TV programmes business -- The Economist
The Economist reports on Britain's poor performance in the international market for television programmes, and suggests that the battle between satellite and terrestrial TV might be something to do with it. "Despite an expanding world market, in which the English language is gaining ground, British TV exports have a poor market share"..."The trade gap started to emerge when multi-channel television came to Britain in 1990. Between 1989 and 1991, the import bill nearly doubled. Partly, that was because BSB and Sky (which later merged) were competing vigorously for Hollywood film rights, so the price went up. But partly, it was because the BBC and ITV would not sell their second-hand programmes to the satellite operators. BSkyB executives maintain that the traditional broadcasters were trying to kill satellite at birth" The Economist, December 12--18, 1998.