The Irish Independent reports that Irish tax consultants have expressed serious concern about new powers given to the Revenue Commissioners which they believe "will cause major practical problems for Irish businesses".
Additional powers in the Finance Bill will allow Revenue to make businesses more accountable for tax on the wages of contractors' staff.
The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ireland (ICAI) claims that Revenue is putting the onus of policing the tax system on to Irish businesses.
In a circular to members, that organisation wrote: "The extent to which the State is transferring the cost of compliance to the individual and business taxpayer is a source of increasing alarm."
The ICAI also said the powers given to Revenue in this year's Finance Bill run contrary to the recommendations of the 2004 Revenue Powers Group Report.
The ICAI is currently discussing the consequences of the changes to legislation with Revenue.
The issue of how employees of contractors are paid is in the spotlight at the moment following the revelation the Polish workers at ESB's Moneypoint power plant were paid less than the minimum wage.
However, these changes to PAYE legislation were included in the Finance Bill before the Moneypoint issue arose.
A Revenue Commissioners spokesperson said that the changes to the legislation were a result of the removal of the remittance basis taxation.
A Revenue Commissioners spokesperson said that the changes to the legislation were a result of the removal of the remittance basis taxation.
This allowed non-domiciled employees of multinationals and non-resident firms to pay part of their income tax outside the State. But now workers based here but paid by a company outside the State come under the PAYE system. "It is mainly a tightening up of the PAYE system," said a spokesperson.
ICAI president John Greely said: "New PAYE rules oblige withholding tax from workers, even when another entity is paying the salary or wages.
Businesses engaging staff on secondment from a foreign affiliate may also be responsible for PAYE, even though they are not paying the person directly nor are they employing the individual."
"Revenue continues to offload compliance responsibilities to the private sector," Mr Greely told ICAI members in the memo.
"Employers generally will have to contend with new obligations going far beyond what is normally expected in employment law and practice," he said.
The organisation said that the Revenue's response to pressures was "devolve more of the tax collection burden to business."
The Irish Independent also reports that the international investment community believes the Irish stock market will outperform its British and eurozone equivalents over the next year to 18 months.
According to investor perception research commissioned by 'IR magazine', 84pc of portfolio managers and analysts polled believe Ireland will outperform the eurozone in that period.
Investors' confidence in the Irish stock exchange was based on the Irish economy, forecasts for GDP growth in 2006, the value of Irish stocks and the high level of consumer confidence.
A slightly smaller percentage (72p) believe Irish stocks will outperform the British market.
Cross Border, publisher of 'IR magazine' and host of the IR Magazine Ireland Conference & Awards 2006, commissioned London-based Mary Maude Research to carry out the investor perception study.
The winners of the IR Magazine Awards 2006 will be announced during the conference and awards ceremony.
It is being held in association with PricewaterhouseCoopers and will take place on April 26 in Dublin.
The Irish Times reports that the Government needs to place a renewed focus on restoring business competitiveness if the economy is to expand according to its potential, the Small Firms Association (SFA) says.
Launching the association's Spring Economic Statement, SFA director Patricia Callan said the changing economic environment makes "a compelling case" for spending growth to be limited to revenue growth. Wage moderation and "major changes" in local authority charges for services such as water and waste must be delivered, according to the association.
The SFA expects growth in gross domestic product of 4.75 per cent for this year and is forecasting an unemployment rate of 4.4 per cent. Inflation is set to average at 2.6 per cent, according to the statement.
Ms Callan said the Government must aim to keep inflation below 2 per cent. She pointed out that the rate grew from 2.5 per cent in December to 3.3 per cent in February, with "stark differences" between the traded goods and services sectors.
"The SFA is of the view that the impact of administered prices is a critical issue," said Ms Callan. She noted that the February figures showed a 12.3 per cent increase in the cost of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels.
"When public sector inefficiencies are passed on to the rest of the economy in the form of tax increases and administrative charges, competitiveness deteriorates and jobs are lost," Ms Callan said.
The SFA wants to ensure that any future increases in commercial rates would not be above inflation and would be tied to "agreed performance targets".
User charges now account for 60 per cent of local government income, with most of this levied on the business sector, according to the SFA.
The association also used the spring statement to raise concerns about "an overpriced labour market" which it says will undermine the ability of manufacturing and tourism companies to compete.
It will also create problems for the construction sector when it comes to delivering major infrastructural projects on time and within budget, the SFA cautioned.
Colm Keena writes in The Irish Times that the great €145 million sugar beet battle got under way formally last week with the announcement that there would be no crop this year.
In one corner we have the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) on behalf of 3,700 sugar beet growers saying Greencore should not get "one cent" from the €145 million restructuring fund put in place by the EU for the Republic as part of its sugar reform package.
In the other corner we have Greencore, the plc that for the past 15 years has had a monopoly position here in the production of sugar. Last year it made €25 million out of its €110 million in operating profits from its sugar production activities. It says it should get 90 per cent of the restructuring fund, with the rest going to farmers and machinery manufacturers.
The IFA has based its claim on a report commissioned from Deloitte which, it says, shows beet farmers will lose €150 million because of the EU reforms.
Armed with this, it has set out its claim for €106 million, or 75 per cent, of the fund. Greencore should get nothing, it claims.
It has made profits of €300 million over the past decade from its monopoly sugar operation and "squandered the millions earned off the backs of farmers in bad investments," the IFA says.
Greencore, for its part, says it has "independent legal, economic and financial advice" that supports its case that the group is entitled to 90 per cent, or €131 million, of the EU restructuring compensation.
In the judge's chair sits the Minister for Agriculture, Mary Coughlan.
Procedures on how the whole matter will be addressed are due to be announced by Brussels in the next few weeks. A report from Greencore outlining how Ms Coughlan should divide up the loot among the various interested parties will then be delivered. The Minister has to make her call by July 1st.
Greencore makes a strong point that the contentious fund was set up to compensate sugar producing firms, such as Greencore, that are now going to cease production.
There are other direct compensation schemes for farmers that will cost the EU a further €165 million. The farmers are being adequately compensated already, according to Greencore, which argues that the Deloitte report on which the IFA case is based, is flawed.
Greencore says its analysis shows beet farmers will in fact be better off, to the tune of €166 million over the next 10 years, based on the direct compensation schemes that have been put in place.
The sugar reform announcement from the EU in November 2005 seems to support Greencore. It said that farmers would be compensated by way of a "decoupled payment" and that "a generous restructuring scheme will be established to provide incentives for less competitive producers to leave the sector".
Producers here means processors such as Greencore.
According to the EU, 10 per cent of the restructuring fund should be ring-fenced for growers and machinery producers.
The reform announcement adds, however: "After consultation with interested parties, member states shall be entitled to increase the percentage... provided that an economically sound balance between the elements of the restructuring plan as referred to... is ensured."
This is the line which the IFA says allows it make its claim to 75 per cent of the fund.
Greencore says it will have to pay €25 million to the 400 sugar workers it will have to let go, and write off €120 million in assets. Environmental work on the Mallow plant being closed will cost a further €15 million, it says.
The IFA, as well as abusing the plc for making a number of poor investments over the years, points out that Greencore could make a tidy amount of cash from the sale of its sites in Carlow and Mallow.
The Greencore chief executive, David Dilger, told potential investors in New York recently that the site of the former sugar factory in Carlow could make multiples of its book value of €40 million, depending on planning permission issues. The IFA has added this to its weaponry.
The farmers' organisation also says that, in most EU countries, the sugar processor is a co-op owned by the farmers. So restructuring payments made to these processors, will filter their way back down to the farmers. It says that, as well as having the sites of the former factories to sell, Greencore will also continue to have the Súicre Éireann brand.
The part of the fund (25 per cent) that does not go to the farmers should go to the workers and the machinery contractors, the IFA says.
While agreeing that the beet farmers are going to get direct compensation while also being able to grow alternative crops, the organisation argues that the loss of sugar beet, the most valuable part of the tillage scene, will have a bad effect generally on tillage farming in the Republic.
It criticises Greencore for not having made better strategic preparations for a reform process that was clearly pending given World Trade Organisation concerns about the EU sugar regime. The feasibility of alternative activities such as ethanol production is being assessed by the IFA.
Overall, it is hard not to feel that the IFA case is weak. It seems clear that the restructuring fund was created primarily to compensate processors while the accompanying decoupled payment scheme would be the main compensation scheme for the farmers.
That said, it is also hard not to feel that the idea of compensating a profitable plc for the loss of a monopoly from which it has made hundreds of millions of euro over the past number of years is a bit daft. Who paid the higher sugar prices over the years? The consumer. Who will pay for the farmer supports and the restructuring fund? The taxpayer.
On paper Greencore would seem to be winning. Politically, however, the case is not nearly so clear. And the problem for Greencore is the final decision will be made by a politician.
The Irish Examiner reports that varying weekend reports have added spice to the ongoing speculation over the future ownership of Eircom.
The Irish telecom is this week expected to ask Babcock & Brown Capital to submit an indicative bid before it offers its books for due diligence.
Babcock, the Australian-based investment house, has steadily been building up its stake in Eircom over the last number of weeks. It now owns 28.8% in the company and needs to reach 29.9% before it triggers a mandatory bid.
Latest rumours have suggested that Eircom is now attracting the interest of a second bidder - Esat founder and former Eircom suitor Denis O'Brien.
The Financial Times reports that Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister seeking re-election next month, clashed at the weekend with some of Italy’s most prominent industrialists leading even his coalition partners to criticise his intemperate display.
At a conference of Confindustria, Italy’s employers’ association, some businessmen whistled and one called out “Shame on you!” as Mr Berlusconi told them that they would be out of their minds if they wanted to vote for the centre-left opposition.
“Something isn’t right if Confindustria attacks the government every day. Let’s open our eyes. We can’t be overcome by the pessimism that the newspapers preach every day to stop my government’s re-election” he said.
With less than three weeks to go before the April 9-10 election, Mr Berlusconi’s centre-right coalition is trailing the opposition, led by Romano Prodi, a former prime minister, by about 4 percentage points in opinion polls.
Although Confindustria is officially neutral in the campaign, its leaders have pulled no punches in pointing out that Mr Berlusconi’s government has presided over five years of mediocre economic growth and modest structural reform.
These criticisms have infuriated Mr Berlusconi, a billionaire businessman in his own right, and he stunned the audience at Saturday’s conference by lashing out at them and ignoring a moderator’s request for him to stop talking. “If there is a businessman who has gone out of his mind and supports the left, I think he must have a lot of skeletons in his cupboard and a lot of things to ask forgiveness for,” the prime minister declared.
He directed his most withering remarks at Diego Della Valle, chief executive of Tod’s, the luxury footwear maker, who is a known supporter of the opposition.
Mr Della Valle said later: “The state in which I saw Berlusconi worries me. The aggressiveness with which he says a whole load of stupid things is worrying, bearing in mind that he’s the man who governs the country.”
In a sign that some of his coalition partners may already be anticipating an election defeat and a post-Berlusconi era for the Italian centre-right, the prime minister’s recent performances have attracted criticism even from his most senior allies.
Gianni Alemanno, agriculture minister, on Sunday criticised Mr Berlusconi’s display at the Confindustria conference, saying: “I was embarrassed. When the prime minister goes to someone else’s home, he should respect the rules of the place.”
Andrea Pininfarina, vice-president of Confindustria, said Mr Berlusconi “was in a confused state of mind, perhaps caused by tiredness. We are not pessimists, we are realists, and the fact that Confindustria wants to know the true facts of the economic situation isn’t defeatism.”
Mr Berlusconi’s campaign has suffered several blows in the past month, including the resignations of two cabinet ministers. One quit because of a political espionage scandal and the other because he insulted Muslims by wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
Last Tuesday, Mr Berlusconi, normally an assured television performer, looked nervous and impatient in a TV election debate that he was widely adjudged to have lost against Mr Prodi.
Gianfranco Fini, foreign minister and leader of the National Alliance, the government’s second largest party, and Pier Ferdinando Casini, speaker of parliament’s lower house, both said Mr Berlusconi had not handled the TV debate well.
The FT also reports that financial services, creative industries and medical research sectors are set to be the core focus of Gordon Brown’s Budget on Wednesday, as the chancellor seeks to equip the UK to meet the challenges of globalisation.
As he prepares to unveil his 10th Budget, Mr Brown is not expected to make any significant changes to taxation or spending in the £550bn budget. Instead, he will introduce measures to lock in the £7bn reduction he wants in borrowing for day-to-day public expenditure in 2006-07.
For Mr Brown, who is almost certain to lead Labour into the next general election, the Budget will be politically significant as it will be the first time he faces David Cameron as Conservative leader across the floor of the Commons.
The chancellor is therefore expected to use the occasion to challenge Mr Cameron on two central issues - the environment and social justice - where the Conservative leader is clearly trying to challenge Labour’s record.
Mr Brown is expected to announce this week that the economy and public finances are on course to meet his downwardly revised economic forecasts for 2005-06. Ed Balls, Labour MP and former treasury adviser, told Sky News on Sunday: “On the economy, on growth, also on the public finances, the numbers are coming in as the Chancellor was expecting.”
With oil prices remaining high, Mr Brown is expected for the fourth year running to postpone the inflation-linked increase in fuel taxes.
However, he will act to underscore his green credentials - and counter those of the Conservative leader - by adjusting the rates of Vehicle Excise Duty to give a greater incentive for people to buy fuel-efficient cars.
New cars bought after the Budget which emit the highest levels of carbon dioxide - including many 4x4 vehicles - will face a slightly higher rate of up to £200 a year, while the cost of a tax disc for the least polluting vehicles will fall.
Following a review last year of the performance of Britain’s creative industries, Mr Brown is expected to announce an extension of R&D tax credits to cover medium-sized companies.
However, it is thought the chancellor is unlikely to unveil any significant proposals relating to pensions, leaving these to a White Paper to be published later in the year.
One of Mr Brown’s toughest decisions will be whether to extend last year’s £200 payment to people over 65 to help with council tax bills. If he decides against extending the payment, he will be accused of cutting the incomes of pensioners, and of using last year’s increase as a cynical election ploy to win pensioners’ votes. The cost of extending the support is £800m a year.
The challenges facing the economy are highlighted by the Bank of England’s latest survey of the public’s expectations of inflation this year. On average, people expect prices to rise by 2.6 per cent, the highest figure since the Bank started the survey in 1999, diminishing the chances of a rate cut in the near future even further.
The New York Times reports that for the first time in a quarter-century, the Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a case involving the basic question of what type of discoveries and inventions can be patented.
Both sides say the case, which involves a blood test for a vitamin deficiency, could have a wide-ranging impact on the development of diagnostics, perhaps threatening many of the underlying patents for genetic and other medical tests.
But the array of companies filing supporting briefs — including American Express, Bear Stearns and I.B.M. — indicates that intellectual property in other fields might also be affected.
Some patent specialists say they think the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case, against the advice of the United States solicitor general, to rein in patenting.
"The Supreme Court reached out and grabbed this case," said Edward R. Reines, a patent attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges who is not involved in the case. "These circumstances suggest that some members of the court believe there are too many patents in areas where there should be none."
At issue is whether relationships between a substance in the human body and a disease — for example, the familiar association between high cholesterol and a higher risk of heart attacks — can be the basis of a patent, or whether such relationships are unpatentable natural phenomena.
This case, LabCorp v. Metabolite Laboratories, stems from a 1990 patent awarded to scientists at the University of Colorado and Columbia University. They found that a high level in the blood of homocysteine, an amino acid, indicated a deficiency of either vitamin B12 or another B vitamin called folic acid.
Much of the patent describes a specific way to measure homocysteine, and those claims are not at issue. But the 13th claim of the patent is more general: it covers a way of determining vitamin deficiency by first testing blood or urine for homocysteine by any means and then correlating elevated levels with a vitamin deficiency.
The patent is owned by Competitive Technologies, a publicly traded patent management firm in Fairfield, Conn., and licensed to Metabolite Laboratories, a tiny company based at the University of Colorado. LabCorp, one of the biggest clinical testing companies in the nation, with 2005 revenues of $3.3 billion, sublicensed the test from Metabolite.
At first, LabCorp, whose full name is Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, tested for homocysteine using the specific method described in the patent and paid royalties to Metabolite and Competitive Technologies. But in 1998 it switched to a newer and faster test developed by Abbott Laboratories.
Metabolite and Competitive sued, charging LabCorp with violating Claim 13 of the patent. In 2001 a federal jury in Denver ruled against LabCorp, and the company was eventually ordered to pay $7.8 million in damages and attorneys' fees. The appeals court that handles patent cases affirmed the lower court decision in 2004.
In asking the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court decisions, LabCorp is arguing that Claim 13, because it does not specify how testing is to be done, patents nothing more than the natural relationship between homocysteine and vitamin B deficiencies, blocking other inventors from developing better tests.
"The present-day implications of such a holding are limitless — and dangerous," LabCorp wrote in its brief. "Anyone who discovers a new medical correlation could stifle medical treatment through a 'test plus correlate' claim."
But Metabolite and its allies argue that such correlations are the basis of diagnostics and that not allowing patents would stifle development of new tests. There are tests, for instance, that look at mutations in particular genes to predict a high risk of breast cancer or to predict which AIDS drugs will not work.
"Hundreds, if not thousands, of patents would at once be called into question" if the ruling goes against Metabolite, said a brief jointly submitted by Perlegen Sciences, a company developing genetic tests, and Mohr Davidow Ventures, a venture capital firm that backs diagnostics companies.
Another question in the case is whether doctors could infringe the patent merely by looking at a test result for homocysteine and then thinking about vitamin deficiency. Indeed, the lower courts said LabCorp had not directly infringed but rather had induced doctors to infringe by performing the correlation.
Partly with that in mind, the American Medical Association, the American Heart Association and AARP have submitted briefs in support of LabCorp, arguing, in the words of the heart association, that the patent could have "devastating effects on patient health care."
Millions of homocysteine tests are done each year because high levels of the amino acid are associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, birth defects and other diseases; people often take B vitamins to lower homocysteine and reduce the risk. (Clinical trial results announced last week, however, suggested that taking B vitamins did not prevent heart attacks.)
Court precedents have held that laws of nature, natural phenomena and abstract ideas cannot be patented. "Einstein could not patent his celebrated law that E = mc2; nor could Newton have patented the law of gravity," the Supreme Court wrote in a 1980 decision. '
But in a 1981 decision in Diamond v. Diehr — the last time the Supreme Court considered the issue — the court upheld a patent on a method of curing rubber that made use of a well-known equation governing chemical reactions. The court said that the equation was only part of a broader invention.
Glenn K. Beaton, an attorney for Metabolite, said that as in that 1981 case, "it's not the correlation itself that is patented here," but rather "the use of that correlation to determine B12 and folate deficiencies."
In recent years, controversial patents have been granted on software and on business methods, such as ways of managing investment portfolios or of allowing people to order merchandise on Amazon.com with one click of a mouse.
Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and the Computer and Communications Industry Association filed briefs urging the court to use the LabCorp case to restrict such business method patents, or at least not expand them. Other companies, including American Express and I.B.M., say the LabCorp case is not relevant to business method patents.
The solicitor general, in urging the court not to hear the case, said there was not enough of a record from the lower courts on the question of patenting natural phenomena. That is because LabCorp did not raise that argument in the lower courts, instead trying to get the claim invalidated on other grounds. If LabCorp wins the case in a way that weakens patents on diagnostic tests, it could be one of the bigger losers. The company, based in Burlington, N.C., is counting on high-priced, patented genetic tests to fuel its growth.
Bradford T. Smith, executive vice president for corporate affairs at LabCorp, disputed that. "We think this case can be decided very narrowly," without undermining other patents, many of which rely on more than just correlations, he said.
The NYT also reports that twenty young engineers, mostly from the Indian Institute of Technology, India's premier technology school, peer into computer monitors in the no-frills office of Read-Ink Technologies, a start-up company housed in a small building in the bustling Indiranagar neighborhood of this city.
Bangalore's flourishing outsourcing companies, including Infosys Technologies and Wipro, have attracted worldwide attention with their global clients and tens of thousands of workers. Less known are the many technology start-ups, like Read-Ink, that have taken root here in recent years.
The new firms are drawn by the region's big pool of engineering graduates, many of whom have expertise in esoteric new technologies. That advantage, coupled with labor costs much lower than those of Silicon Valley, is starting to turn Bangalore, long a center for lower-end outsourcing services, into a center of higher-end innovation.
Some of these firms are self-financed, others have capital from the West. Some are run by foreigners. Others are founded by Indians, including returnees from overseas.
Read-Ink, one of the self-financed operations, is developing an advanced handwriting recognition software that can read scanned forms, claim forms, medical records and even digital tablets.
Its founders, Thomas O. Binford, a retired computer science professor from Stanford University, and his wife, Ione, a former manager at Hewlett-Packard, arrived here four years ago with five suitcases. They say they are now close to signing up their first business customer.
The signs of this shift toward high-value work are becoming more visible. Executives at Silicon Valley Bank, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., and provides consulting services to technology and venture capital firms, said they were seeing twice as many Indian start-ups looking for capital investment than even a few months ago.
"Our technology and private equity clients are leveraging India at an unprecedented rate," said Kenneth P. Wilcox, chief executive of Silicon Valley Bank and SVB Financial Group.
When the members of the Bangalore chapter of the Indus Entrepreneurs, a nonprofit network for entrepreneurs, collaborated with the venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson Gotham to sponsor a business plan competition last month, they were stunned to draw 125 entries vying for the $150,000 top prize.
At the same time, Bangalore is becoming a hunting ground for venture capitalists looking for promising investment opportunities, such as Promod Haque, managing partner at the venture capital firm Norwest Venture Partners in Palo Alto, Calif.
About 40 percent of Norwest Venture's portfolio companies, or about 20 companies, have development operations in India, mainly in Bangalore. "More and more people are figuring out that Bangalore is a critical step in making start-ups capital-efficient," Mr. Haque said, explaining that cost savings here can help stretch initial investment funds.
Mr. Haque is taking a hybrid approach to investment. He pairs entrepreneurs of Indian origin who have returned to India (many have spent time working in Silicon Valley and elsewhere) with Western executives who have marketing and management expertise.
One of his investments is Open-Silicon, a two-year-old silicon engineering company. Its chief executive is based here, but its headquarters and marketing chief are based in Sunnyvale, Calif. "Like Open-Silicon, which has most of its customers within a five-mile radius of its headquarters, many technology start-ups are servicing American and European markets," Mr. Haque said.
Indrion Technologies, another new Bangalore start-up, has six engineers working on embedded semiconductor solutions for sensor-control networks. Its co-founder and chief executive, Uma Mahesh, a computer science engineer from the Indian Institute of Technology, is optimistic that he can attract venture capital because innovation among India's new companies is "a very believable story for investors."
Perhaps not surprisingly, this increased start-up activity in Bangalore has caught the eye of influential American lawmakers. Many American political and business leaders have said they are worried about a technological brain drain from the United States to places overseas.
Representative Jerry Lewis, a California Republican who is the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said that he was trying to find a government agency to sponsor projects in areas like nanotechnology, semiconductors, energy and pharmaceuticals, and possibly to collaborate with agencies in India.
"We are figuring out what kind of support and funding is needed from the Congress," Mr. Lewis said in a phone interview, adding, "The issue is not so much about losing innovation leadership as it is about how to make innovations happen on a cheaper scale and how to make more of it happen."
That Bangalore can be an incubator city for start-ups is demonstrated in Read-Ink, which the Binfords have financed entirely from their savings and retirement fund. They live and work in the same building, saving on rent. The ground floor contains a kitchen and employee dining room as well as the Binfords' bedroom and employees' guest rooms.
Mrs. Binford also runs an all-night accounting back-office service for American customers. "It is a small service with seven accountants," she said, "but helps cover the costs."
Improving the accuracy of handwriting recognition beyond what currently marketed software products offer is a complicated technical problem. "Current products have an accuracy rate of 80-85 percent; ours will be a 5-7 percent improvement," said Mr. Binford, Read-Ink's chief technology officer.
But in getting there, the Binfords have struggled to recruit and retain the best engineers in a competitive market. They said they had deliberately stayed in stealth mode for fear of talent poachers.
There are other growing pains. Finding venture investors at the early stages of a start-up business can be difficult because the majority of investors prefer to make safer later-stage investments. There is also a lack of homegrown innovators serving as role models.
"The entrepreneurial heroes of the Valley are accessible to many people," said Sabeer Bhatia, who moved from Bangalore to the Silicon Valley and co-founded Hotmail, later acquired by the Microsoft Corporation.
Sridhar Mitta, president of the Bangalore chapter of the Indus Entrepreneurs, said, "We are not going to be another Valley anytime soon," but he added, "The city can match up with Boston or Austin as a competitive place to start up innovative product companies."