American Consumers Reject Government Control in the High-Tech Sector

More and more, the federal government is taking steps to regulate and control our nation’s high-technology sector. Whether the government acts against Microsoft or Intel, it ends up protecting competitors, not competition. As a result, the government hurts consumers by stifling innovation in America’s most dynamic industry and raising prices at the cash register.

CSE Foundation asked Wirthlin Worldwide to conduct a consumer poll1 to learn what role the American people wanted the government to have in the high-tech sector. The results (shown below) demonstrate an overwhelming rejection of government interference.

Only one-in-four Americans (28%) believe that the government’s rules and laws are able to keep pace with innovation in the technology sector. A majority of those asked (53%) recognized America’s rules and laws lag behind innovation.

Two-out-of-three surveyed (66%) said that software companies, not the government, should determine what features and applications are included in the software products consumers use with their computers.

Seven-out-of-ten American consumers (69%) feel that technology companies, not the government, should control the development of new technologies and products. 48% surveyed held their views strongly.

Nearly three-in-four polled (72%) rejected government control over the release of new computer software products, with 52% responding that they held their views strongly.

Not surprisingly, a commanding majority of those surveyed (87%) agree that today’s technology products are good for the American consumer.

Of those questioned, 82% believe Microsoft is good for America consumers. This response is nearly identical to the results of a poll Wirthlin Worldwide conducted for CSE Foundation in December 1998 in which 81% of Americans said Microsoft is good for consumers.

In reality, the government’s regulations are not designed to protect consumers or competition. They are the result of corporations manipulating the government to gain advantage in the marketplace. If the government wants to protect consumers, it should stop its unwelcome intrusion in to the high-technology sector before it causes permanent harm.

1Wirthlin Worldwide conducted the study between April 9 – April 11, 1999, on behalf of Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation. Interviews were conducted by telephone with a representative random sample of 1,002 adults aged 18 and over residing within the continental U.S. The margin of error for a survey this size at the 95% confidence interval is ± 3%.