Oracle advises cautious approach to e-legislation

Senior Oracle vice president says that regulating e-commerce in advance of its wider development could strangle it before it's even had a chance to mature.

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By  David Ingham Published  January 28, 2001

A senior Oracle executive has advised regional governments that their efforts to fairly regulate e-commerce activities shouldn’t result in the accidental killing of the golden goose.

Joseph Alhadeff, the company’s vice president for global public policy, says that regulating e-commerce in advance of its wider development could strangle it before it’s properly born. “There’s a balance between developing an infrastructure that facilitates, and regulations that may limit,” says Alhadeff.

He holds up the USA’s recent investigations into business to business marketplaces as a good example of how to approach e-commerce and the issue of regulation. Authorities there have been concerned that large suppliers could use business to business marketplaces to bully huge cost savings out of suppliers.

It was also feared that larger suppliers would be able to more easily undercut smaller suppliers. Authorities were particularly concerned about marketplaces planned by the large auto manufacturers.

The authorities’ conclusion and their current approach is not to legislate on B2B marketplaces in advance of problems occurring. Alhadeff says it’s important to differentiate between issues specific to e-commerce and issues that are endemic to a whole industry sector. “The exchange merely reflects the marketplace,” argues Alhadeff. “The technology is neutral in its outlook.”

Alhadeff suggests that regions like the Middle East can take what works well outside and create a culturally appropriate model for the region. Alhadeff suggests The United Arab Emirates as one country that could take a lead.

“Because the Emirates has a mindset that is accepting of e-commerce technologies, it’s a good place to do that convergence for the region,” says Alhadeff.

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