International -- Readers Report
In Defense of Putin's Efforts to Build a True Nation State (int'l edition)
In my decades-long dealings with Russia, I have seen firsthand many difficulties. I have also seen the difficulties that the post-Soviet government itself has encountered ("Putin's power play," European Business, June 5).
I am no fan of the continuing inefficacy and at times criminal behavior of the Russian marketplace, but I must at least partially come to the defense of President Vladimir Putin in his struggle for power. Although I do not know the true details of the means being used in his attempt at a resumption of national power, I can commend the goals, in as much as they assert nation-state responsibility.
Imagine the reaction and outcome in the U.S. if Montana were to decide to suspend the transfer of taxes to the federal government and enter into a treaty of its own making with North Korea. Russia is faced with the dynamic equivalent of this very thing.
The U.S. should demand from Russia international standards of responsibility (read Chechyna), but it should also clearly express its support for adherence to the Russian constitution by freely subscribed members of the Russian federation.
The U.S. also has a constitution, and it is considered to be a rather important document. Grant the Russians the same.
Mullheim, GermanyReturn to top
Make Room for Nokia's Jorma Ollila
I was surprised Jorma Ollila, chairman and CEO of Nokia Corp., didn't make your list ("The stars of Europe," Special Report, June 12). He has transformed Nokia into a global player in the mobile-communications market and made that tiny piece of advanced electronics into more than just a mobile phone--it became a piece of personal identity with state-of-the-art design, innovations, and performance. Actually, Nokia was one of the forefront leaders "responsible" for the boom in mobile communications in Europe. Nokia became the most valuable company in the Old Continent, overtaking such heavyweights as Deutsche Telekom, British Telecommunications PLC, Vodafone AirTouch PLC, and others by far, not to mention the Old Economy giants such as DaimlerChrysler or Siemens.
DublinReturn to top
Microsoft's Success Has Little to Do with Innovation (int'l edition)
I have been a conscientious reader of your magazine for eons. As a European, I find charm in your strong American bias, even when it turns sometimes into naive arrogance ("Don't worry, Bill--innovation will survive," American News, May 22). I cannot, however, accept your assumption that the New Economy is always synonymous with innovation or, another version of this common lore, that breaking up Microsoft Corp. would stifle innovation.
Microsoft has been extremely good at making business decisions that let it make enormous amounts of money. Making money is an old game in the long history of mankind and probably the oldest trade in the world. But that has little to do with innovation.
There is nothing less innovative than Windows, or Word, or Excel. These are fair products targeted at the masses--often not very well-informed or demanding--that have been dressed up and made up in alluring colors. Whenever needs are modestly above a trivial usage of a computer, Microsoft products either crash or simply refuse to perform.
This does not mean that the New Economy has not introduced new gadget-tools in our life that stand on a par with cars and telephones. But the innovation they contain probably lies more in the hardware that makes all of this possible than in the rather obvious declension of e-everything, that is mostly based on cutting costs and delivery delays. It seems to me that innovation is still flowing out of the mind of scientists, writers, poets, visionary politicians, and engineers, rather than out of any dotcom businessman.
Anyway, I will keep reading Business Week for a while.
Semecourt, FranceReturn to top