Society and technology: managing change

OECD Observer

The key note speaker at this session, Bernard Vergnes, Chairman of Microsoft Europe, Middle East and South Africa, delivered a message of enthusiasm about the new economy. He described Microsoft’s vision, as well as its contribution to overcoming the digital divide, within and without developed countries.

Two principle themes:

Access to new ICT technology, emphasizing work on closing the skills gap, concentrating on skilling up the disabled, the unemployed, and the technically illiterate. Mr Vergnes spoke of examples of Microsoft partnerships in the UK, Poland, Ireland and France. To a later question admitted that a Microsoft presence in the country was important springboard to partnerships, and Africa was by consequence untapped.

Regulatory environment: Appealed to government to regulate where needed, to avoid creating burdensome rules. Main areas for government attention included e-signatures (EU e-signatures directive was a good model) and privacy, crime and intellectual property protection. Even where pornography was concerned, codes of conduct and information to allow individual judgment (based on enabling filtering technologies) were preferable to rules in many areas. Mr Vergnes expressed confidence in the international organisations like OECD and its potential role as a clearing house for best practice.

Mr Vergnes foresaw ongoing rapid innovation, and an era just five years from now when users would have even more control over their Internet usage than today.

Forum 2000 OECD, CNIT, June 2000, Diderot

Moderator Christopher Brooks

©OECD Observer No 221-222, Summer 2000

Economic data


Stay up-to-date with the latest news from the OECD by signing up for our e-newsletter :

Twitter feed

Suscribe now

<b>Subscribe now!</b>

To receive your exclusive paper editions delivered to you directly

Online edition
Previous editions

Don't miss

  • Read some of the insightful remarks made at OECD Forum 2017, held on 6-7 June. OECD Forum kick-started events with a focus on inclusive growth, digitalisation, and trust, under the overall theme of Bridging Divides.
  • Checking out the job situation with the OECD scoreboard of labour market performances: do you want to know how your country compares with neighbours and competitors on income levels or employment?
  • Trade is an important point of focus in today’s international economy. This video presents facts and statistics from OECD’s most recent publications on this topic.
  • How do the largest community of British expats living in Spain feel about Brexit? Britons living in Orihuela Costa, Alicante give their views.
  • Brexit is taking up Europe's energy and focus, according to OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría. Watch video.
  • OECD Chief Economist Catherine Mann and former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King discuss the economic merits of a US border adjustment tax and the outlook for US economic growth.
  • Africa's cities at the forefront of progress: Africa is urbanising at a historically rapid pace coupled with an unprecedented demographic boom. By 2050, about 56% of Africans are expected to live in cities. This poses major policy challenges, but make no mistake: Africa’s cities and towns are engines of progress that, if harnessed correctly, can fuel the entire continent’s sustainable development.
  • OECD Observer i-Sheet Series: OECD Observer i-Sheets are smart contents pages on major issues and events. Use them to find current or recent articles, video, books and working papers. To browse on paper and read on line, or simply download.
  • How sustainable is the ocean as a source of economic development? The Ocean Economy in 2030 examines the risks and uncertainties surrounding the future development of ocean industries, the innovations required in science and technology to support their progress, their potential contribution to green growth and some of the implications for ocean management.
  • The OECD Gender Initiative examines existing barriers to gender equality in education, employment, and entrepreneurship. The gender portal monitors the progress made by governments to promote gender equality in both OECD and non-OECD countries and provides good practices based on analytical tools and reliable data.
  • They are green and local --It’s a new generation of entrepreneurs in Kenya with big dreams of sustainable energy and the drive to see their innovative technologies throughout Africa.
  • Interested in a career in Paris at the OECD? The OECD is a major international organisation, with a mission to build better policies for better lives. With our hub based in one of the world's global cities and offices across continents, find out more at .

Most Popular Articles

OECD Insights Blog

NOTE: All signed articles in the OECD Observer express the opinions of the authors
and do not necessarily represent the official views of OECD member countries.

All rights reserved. OECD 2017