Microsoft has been fined by the European Commission. Getty Images
Jaron Lanier is a “partner architect” at Microsoft but he doesn’t speak for the software company. As the scientist, composer and author explained to an audience at The Economist’s Technology Frontiers conference on Tuesday, what he says “probably horrifies any number of individuals within the company”.
Even so, in retrospect, it his hard not to read some of his remarks differently, in the light of the European Commission’s €561m fine for Microsoft, confirmed on Wednesday, for breaching a high-profile competition agreement with the European Union. Read more
The financial crisis revealed that management and supervision of banks were more than just a numbers game, so it’s distressing to see the European Commission edging towards a limit on the number of directorships bank directors can hold.
I’m all in favour of close monitoring – by the board – of whether board members are taking on too much. The job of bank director is too important to entrust to individuals who are already shouldering a big burden elsewhere. But the best way to ensure directors can devote quality time to the job is for the board nominations committee to be absolutely explicit about the amount of work involved. A clue: at large financial institutions, it’s a lot. Read more