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Businessweek Archives

Nike Hasn't Learned Its Lesson

Readers Report


As a long-standing critic of Nike Inc.'s Asian production practices, I applaud Linda Himelstein's observation that Andrew Young did a disservice to Nike by failing to address some key issues ("Nike hasn't scrubbed its image yet," News: Analysis & Commentary, July 7). Young's GoodWorks International may have made a significant contribution, however, by providing a good example of what "independent monitoring" isn't. In the coming months, President Clinton's apparel-industry partnership will unveil its plan for monitoring factories. As GoodWorks' facile report makes clear, this monitoring must include survey work done by indigenous groups the workers trust, not using factory walk-throughs with a few ritual visits to local worker-rights groups.

Jeffrey Ballinger

Alpine, N.J.Return to top


I have grave concerns about your reporting on how we use research at Montgomery Securities ("Love among the heavyweights," Finance, July 14). We do not "leak research reports to favored clients," a point I emphasized repeatedly in an interview. Leaking research is an illegal and unethical activity. Were we to find an employee guilty of such activity, that employee would be dismissed and his activities reported to the authorities. The authorities have never charged us with that type of unethical distribution of research. To allege it is absurd, given how we have been able to grow our brokerage business.

We would not be the eighth-largest brokerage in the U.S. (based on an independent survey of institutional commissions) if we condoned giving some clients advantages over others, as you suggest.

Thomas W. Weisel

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Montgomery Securities

San FranciscoReturn to top


We at SRI read with interest your article "The digital frontier" (Cover Story, June 23). For more than 30 years, SRI International has collaborated with and competed against many of the research labs that were profiled.

SRI has made significant contributions to the origins of personal computing and computer networking. In the mid-1960s, Douglas Engelbart and his staff at SRI developed the first foundations of personal computing. The first public display of this revolutionary change came in the fall of 1968 with adjustable cathode-ray terminal display terminals; remote collaborative computing enabled by video window exchange and shared electronic displays; hypertext linkages; online help; and even the mouse.

SRI has some of the earliest patents on modem technology. We developed optical-disk recording and playback for 3M in 1963, built the first secure time-shared operating system, and created one of the first mobile robots capable of observing and reasoning about its environment.

William P. Sommers

Chief Executive Officer

SRI International

Menlo Park, Calif.

"The digital frontier" neglected the U.S. Energy Dept.'s national labs, which, together with the Energy Dept., have an annual research and development budget of more than $16 billion. The U.S. government supports more than 735 laboratories through various departments and agencies. The total federal budget for laboratory R&D is about $60 billion annually. NASA alone has 12 large laboratories for R&D, much of it related to digital work.

Finally, most of the university researchers in the digital field are either connected to these laboratories or have close colleagues who work in them. In fact, due to the premier facilities and equipment at most of these labs, much of the university researchers' actual experimentation is done at the national labs, and it involves graduate students as well.

Woodrow W. Clark Jr., Manager,

Strategic Planning, Energy

Lawrence Livermore

National Laboratory

Livermore, Calif.Return to top

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