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Tech Industry

Bush to host high-tech roundtable

Members of the president's Technology Advisory Council will meet in the White House Wednesday to hear President Bush address issues such as the economy and education.

    WASHINGTON--President Bush will welcome executives from Cisco Systems and other top companies Wednesday to talk tech.

    Bush held two similar events earlier this year, one at the Texas Governors' mansion, and later a smaller event at the White House. When he formed his Technology Advisory Council during the presidential campaign, Bush said he would turn frequently to members such as Cisco Chief Executive John Chambers on technology issues.

    San Jose, Calif.-based Cisco said it will be represented at the event by Laura Ipsen, worldwide director of government affairs. Other big names expected include Scott McNealy, chief executive of Sun Microsystems; Gordon Moore, chairman emeritus of Intel; Craig Barrett, Intel's chief executive; and Tom Engibous, chief executive of Texas Instruments.

    Also among the expected attendees Wednesday are Carol Bartz, chief executive of Autodesk; James Barksdale, managing director of the Barksdale Group; and Robert Herbold, chief operating officer of Microsoft.

    Association leaders will be in attendance with Information Technology Association of America President Harold Miller confirmed. Close Bush adviser Michael Dell, chief executive of Dell Computer, attended the Austin, Texas, summit earlier this year, but will not be at this one, a Dell representative said. The White House chose not to release an attendance list.

    "If there's any group that has its finger on the pulse of the economy, it's the high-tech community," White House Chief Spokesman Ari Fleischer said aboard Air Force One on Monday. "The President wants to hear their thoughts about the strength of the economy and to share with them his ideas for how to improve it."

    According to White House spokesman Jimmy Orr, the president will probably focus on the economy and technology's role in it, as well as high-tech education.

    "I believe they'll focus on the intersection of high-tech deployment and economic development," said Rudy Baca, an analyst with the Precursor Group. Baca said he thinks the discussions will avoid the "nitty-gritty" and instead be held "at the 50,000-feet level."

    Orr said the purpose of the meeting is to let the president discuss issues important to the high-tech community that will ultimately help improve the economy.

    Spectrum management will be a likely topic as the wireless industry hopes to progress to third-generation, or 3G technologies, Baca said. These 3G technologies are expected to bring high-speed, always-on Internet connections to mobile devices in the next few years. Friday, the Federal Communications Commission and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration will release final reports on how 3G services might fit into crowded spectrum at 2.5GHz and 1.7GHz, respectively.

    "This is the year for a regulatory reset (after eight years of the Clinton Administration) and his almost industrial policy for communications," Baca said.

    Baca said he thought there would also be discussions about what type of individuals should fill the four vacant seats at the FCC and the director's position at NTIA. Floyd Kvamme, a partner at VC firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers expected to attend Wednesday, has been rumored as a favorite for some type of technology post in the new administration ever since being edged out by longtime Bush friend Donald Evans for Secretary of Commerce.