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Industry signs on to the net

BRITISH businessmen are joining the e-commerce revolution in record numbers, writes Peter Koenig. Research by Microsoft suggests the number of executives aware that the internet is challenging traditional business models has gone from one-in-six last September to one-in-two today.

"We are aiming to bridge the gap between information technology specialists and the boardroom," said Andrew Pickup, Microsoft's UK marketing manager. "We want decision makers to understand that information technology is moving from the cost side of the business equation to the asset side."

Microsoft's campaign began in January with the publication of Bill Gates' book, Business @ The Speed of Thought, propagating the metaphor that the internet is to business what the nervous system is to individuals.

The first phase of Microsoft's latest marketing campaign in the UK drummed home the message that the internet breaks down corporate hierarchies and turns all employees into knowledge workers.

The second phase, rolled out last week, focuses on the cost-savings achieved in linking companies to their suppliers and partners on the internet.

The final phase, to be put in place this summer, will highlight the benefits of consumer websites.