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U.S./Europe Technology Gap Widens

Peter Kraljic, CEO of McKinsey France, reminded attendees at a recent Lyon conference that seven years ago five European companies ranked among the world's 25 leaders in information technology. Today only one company does: Germany's Siemens Nixdorf. Kraljic attributes U.S. dominance to the relative youth of Compaq Computer Corp., Cisco Systems Inc., and many of the country's other high-tech starts, and to their determination to operate worldwide. Also a factor in favor of the U.S.: It perceived high-tech as a market opportunity, not a job-killer. IBM Italia's CEO Lucio Stanca confesses in contrast: "At our Italian company, we unhooked our strategy from that of the mother company in order not to let the new technologies threaten employment." As a result Europe has lost "millions of jobs without others replacing them."

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