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European businesses have a far more pragmatic approach to conducting business electronically than their US counterparts, according to the latest research from IBM. Big Blue's latest study reveals that 85 per cent of European companies believe they must invest in e-business or face competitive disadvantage. But the study further revealed that European companies are more inclined to see e-business as a way of achieving real value within their organisations and not just as a tool for out-doing the competition. The findings appear to contradict the widely held belief that the US leads the way in the development of electronic commerce. Equally, it also points to the growing maturity of the market in Europe, a view shared by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager of IBM's Internet Division. "The Internet is not a strictly US phenomenon," he said during a press conference broadcast live on the Web. "The Internet is not limited to the industrialised world. It is a worldwide movement that is reshaping business of all sizes, and in more and more ways, society as a whole." IBM also carried out some amazing number crunching, predicting that by 2002, $600 billion -- out of a total worldwide IT spend of $1.6 trillion -- will be spent on e-business. Undeniably, it must have taken some impressive modelling and computer simulation to come up with that kind of prediction. It's just a shame Big Blue couldn't have applied similar resource to its own figures. Wladawsky-Berger proudly announced that IBM now generates $10 million worth of business online each day, but the company is unable -- or unwilling -– to say exactly how this is generated. Hmmmmm, the jury is still out. ®

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