Millennium 2000: Some Question Whether Massive Y2K Expenses and Anxieties Were NecessaryAired January 2, 2000 - 6:02 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: While many people are relieved that the transition to the year 2000 has been relatively smooth, some question now whether all the anxiety and all the expense leading up the turn of the century was necessary. More on that and any computer problems that may lie ahead from CNN's Rick Lockridge at the Y2K Monitoring Center in Washington -- Rick.
RICK LOCKRIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Joie, let's talk about the markets briefly first. If officials here are confident about anything, it is they're confident that the markets will run smoothly. That's because of months of testing that have been under way, and because of the realization they had long ago that even a single electronic crash in one of the world's major markets could cause, by itself, a crisis of confidence with far-reaching effects. But they're feeling very good about the market here.
Now as to the point you just raise, the story here today really is that griping is starting to come in from around the world about the expenditure of half a trillion worldwide to get the world ready for a Y2K rollover. Was it really necessary to spend all that money? As one Australian newspaper writer put it today, "Can we get a refund?" Well be don't know about that, but we do know is that John Koskinen, the president's Y2K czar, has taken some criticisms for what some people call bullying a lot of other countries and American companies into spending a lot of money to make sure they were Y2K compliant.
But Koskinen, in a briefing today to reporters said, cost and a briefing said, even he couldn't bully America CEOs into spending money they didn't think needed to be spent.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOHN KOSKINEN, PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL ON Y2K CONVERSION: While we've made it look too easy in many ways, because it has been the success it has and appears to have been, it is important to put it in the right context as we go forward. And as I've said on numerous occasions in the past, individual companies didn't spend, in many case, hundreds of millions of dollars for public relations efforts. They are not susceptible to responding to hype. They actually spent that money because their systems were at risk and it was an urgent management issue that they dealt with, and it appears to everyone now, very successfully.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LOCKRIDGE: Who is at risk tomorrow? Well, here they say it is small businesses, city, state, local governments perhaps, and school districts, those who have been not been on duty all weekend monitoring their systems and who will show up for work tomorrow for the first time since the Y2K rollover and waiting to boot up their computers and see exactly what happens. So tomorrow, Joie, is the world's next Y2K hurdle.
Reporting live from the Y2K center in here Washington, I'm Lockridge.
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