As someone who runs a European startup Internet company with one of the most heavily trafficked sites in Europe, I agree with Hasso Plattner's observation that "while the Europeans wait for a product, the American market throws money at hype. That's how companies get started" ("The 21st century economy," Cover Story, Aug. 24-31).
The European and American approaches to business and technology are decidedly different. All the European companies mentioned are already large, established companies, whereas a number of the U.S. companies were startups, which is where innovation comes from, after all.
While it is true that Europe is beginning to participate in the technology revolution, it is predominantly the large companies that are involved. This is unfortunate, as there is no shortage of entrepreneurial talent in Europe, merely a shortage of the resources and support required to nurture startups. At this point, many Europeans are having to relocate to the U.S. to get their ideas off the ground. A sad loss for Europe, a major gain for the U.S.
Currently, one of the major constraints facing European entrepreneurs is the lack of true venture capitalists in Europe. Most are VCs in name but not in practice, preferring safe deals, management buyouts, and leveraged buyouts. There appears to be a distinct lack of vision. I welcome, as do many others, U.S. venture capitalists setting up shop in Europe. A vision in itself.