News Briefs: High-Tech vs. Visa Bill

FRAMINGHAM (04/18/2000) - Some high-tech lobbying groups are opposing a bill introduced last week by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) that would lift the H-1B visa cap. Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), said the bill is weighed down by "a whole lot of little anchors" that could thwart efforts to increase the 115,000-visa cap, including a provision that would tie additional visas to completion of delayed U.S. Department of Labor immigration regulations. The ITAA is supporting legislation that would increase the cap during the next several years to 200,000.

Net Tax-Break Battle

The Advisory Commission on Electronic Commerce report, which backs an extension of the Internet Tax Freedom Act, is being opposed by 42 state governors. The governors, in a letter to House and Senate leaders, said the report provided special interest tax breaks and intruded on state sovereignty. The act, which bans new taxes aimed at e-commerce, will expire next year.

10 Million Domains

Network Solutions Inc. last week said it reached the 10 million mark in domain name registrations. The milestone now gives Network Solutions the second spot behind America Online Inc. for paid subscribers, with an estimated 160 million domain names registered. VeriSign Inc. last month agreed to buy the Herndon, Virginia-based registrar.

Amazon.com on Top

PC Data Online in Reston, Virginia, has reported that Amazon.com Inc. in Seattle is once again the top online retailer, logging 14.8 million users and 1.1 million buyers in March. The giant Web merchant had slipped to second place in February behind CDnow Inc.

According to PC Data Online, CDnow finished second in March with 6.6 million users and 628,000 buyers, followed by Ticketmaster.com (4.2 million users and 519,000 buyers), Barnesandnoble.com Inc. (5.4 million users and 362,000 buyers) and Buy.com Inc. (2.3 million users and 309,000 buyers).

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