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Leading Brands -- And Companies That Lead

It is pretty sad when an IKEA shopper who "writes about everything from the 12 cents ice-cream cones in the store cafeterias" is celebrated in the context of the future of business ("Cult brands," Special Report, Aug. 9). Where has the concept of leadership gone in the corporate world, exemplified by companies investing in new products and services they believed would be the future rather than pathetically tailing consumers?

I used to resent the Cupertino-centric arrogance of Apple Computer Inc. (AAPL). Today, by comparison, it feels like a breath of fresh air. And Apple still manages to innovate and create markets for itself.

Nico Macdonald


Taking a look at your 100 Top Brands scoreboard, I noticed Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) was ranked No. 12. My experience shows that these giants still have lots to do for their brands. Last Christmas, my wife bought an HP nc4000 laptop when she traveled from Shanghai to Hong Kong and got confirmation it was warrantied globally. Cool -- that's a benefit you can enjoy from multinational corporations. I hope we consumers can get consistent services from these global companies -- if they want to be really globalized.

Stanley Shi


Excessive litigation caused a big change in my life. Five years ago, I moved to Idaho from California, in part because there were half as many lawyers per capita in Idaho. Being in the mergers and acquisitions business, I knew [California's high ratio] made it fertile ground for lawsuits. Even though I have never been sued directly in my business, as a director of two public companies I have been named in suits when the stock prices dropped. All of those lawsuits were thrown out -- but only after hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent in legal fees and insurance hikes.

If the U.S. system is truly modeled on the British style of jurisprudence, why not include the "loser pays" part of the system? That would reduce frivolous lawsuits and would also reduce the estimated 2.1% "litigation tax" on all U.S. wages and salaries.

Charles B. Bonner

Sun Valley, Idaho

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