Fueling tech growth – Industry chiefs speak

Top high-tech executives told Congress Tuesday that more federal funding is needed for research and education to drive new technology in the decades to come, the Associated Press reported June 6.

Microsoft chair Bill Gates told the Joint Economic Committee that technology can provide 24-hour, customized learning opportunities for students – but that only 20 percent of U.S. teachers feel confident using technology in the classroom.

“That says we have a long ways to go,” Gates said.

Intel Corp. chair Andy Grove told the committee that high-tech degrees fell in U.S. universities from 1988 to 1998. In the 90s, Grove said, federal funding for high-tech research declined from $72 billion to $62 billion, even as high-tech industry grew 10 percent to 30 percent each year.

Surprisingly, Grove said the Internet should not be free from taxation. “I don’t think electronic commerce needs federal or state subsidies,” he said.

The Joint Economic Committee also heard from other executives including Adobe Systems CEO John Warnock in its third in a series of hearings on the high-tech industry’s effects on the U.S. economy.

Gates and other members of the Business Software Alliance will hold closed-door meetings Wednesday with House leaders and Clinton administration officials, including Commerce Secretary William Daley and Federal Communications Commission Chair William Kennard.

For full text, go to the Associated Press.

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