PeoplePC gears up to wire Europe’s workforce

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PeoplePC has launched a European subsidiary, PeoplePC Europe, with funding from @viso, the shared incubation arm of Vivendi and Softbank.

The European headquarters will be in London, with offices in France and Germany. The company plans to increase its presence in Europe to four countries in the next two years.

Heading up PeoplePC Europe is a proven team of expertise:
• General manager Marion King brings 15 years of high-level management experience at Reuters. She was most recently managing director of transaction services at Reuters, responsible for one-third of its $435.4 million profits in 1999.
• Senior vice president of operations Steven Glover, a former Apple Computer executive, adds over 20 years experience in operations and supply chain functions.
• Senior vice president of finance, Tony O’Neill contributes 25 years of expertise from Walkers Snack Foods and other premier companies.
• Vice president of accounts is Adam Sutner, formerly of TBWA Chiat/Day.

The PeoplePC channel supports the UK government initiative – UK Online. This encourages employers to provide PCs and Internet access to employees for use at home.

The 1999 UK budget introduced tax breaks for employees provided with home PCs by employers. This follows a common theme across Europe, for example the French government’s recent changes to its taxation policies on in-kind benefits (such as home PCs) to encourage the breakdown of the digital divide.

According to a Jupiter Research report this month, 94 million European households have no PCs, compared to 39 million in the United States, and 123 million households who are not yet connected to the Internet, compared to 51 million households in the US

“Many citizens of Europe remain unconnected, and we want to facilitate their inclusion in the digital economy. Computing can be complicated and it doesn’t have to be,” said Nick Grouf, CEO of PeoplePC. “We are committed to removing the barriers of entry to participation in the digital revolution on a global basis.”

The PeoplePC Wired Workforce programme will give UK employers a unique vehicle to offer their employees an opportunity to own a computer and get online at the fraction of the price it now costs.

The programme includes: a brand-name new computer, software, unlimited Internet access, online training, superior technical support, membership to a leading global online community, and ongoing customer service maintained through a single point of contact for all services.

PeoplePC pioneered the Wired Workforce program in the US and is offering its turnkey computing solution to employees at Ford, Delta Air Lines, the New York Times and the National Trade Union of Singapore.

In April, Vivendi and Softbank invested $50 million in PeoplePC Europe through their shared incubation arm @viso, in exchange for a 35% stake. @viso helps established Internet companies enter and expand on continental European markets. It provides strategic and management consulting, human resources, marketing and communications, logistical support, technical consulting and support. The company participates in the financing of European launches by forming joint ventures.

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