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The BBC's Sue Nelson
"Home computer ownership in Europe is at an all time high"
 real 28k

Thursday, 9 December, 1999, 06:19 GMT
Sex and chips lose out to computer
Every home should have one

People in the UK are such computer addicts they prefer it over sex or a bag of chips.

And a new survey suggests the UK is set to become the first European country to have computers in half of its homes.

A study by software giant Microsoft has revealed that the UK will reach that total within two years - ahead of major European competitors such as France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

Britain also emerged with the highest proportion of "silver surfers" - PC users over 60.

Computer addicts
One in four Britons would rather be using their computer than having sex
Four out of five would rather be using their home computer than eating a portion of chips
The French, Germans and Spanish all voted Britain the most computer literate nation in Europe
There are thought to be between 10 and 15 million people in the UK with internet access
On a more eccentric note Britons were also said to be most likely to talk to their computers; one in five Swedes like stroking theirs, while the Spanish are most likely to hit a troublesome computer.

'Leading the way'

Word processing and games playing remain the most popular use of home computers, with surfing the net coming a poor third.

Alex Allan, the government's recently appointed E-envoy, said: "This is welcome confirmation that the UK is leading the way in Europe in embracing information and communication technologies.

"The government's goal is for the UK to be the global leader - and these findings will help us drive that forward."

Richard Teversham, group marketing manager for Microsoft UK, said: "Britain has a deserved reputation for being a technologically advanced nation.

"Britons understand and enjoy using the home computer. This leaves the UK well-placed to adapt to the technological challenges that the new millennium will bring."

However two-thirds of European computer users said they were indifferent to the possible effects of the Y2K (year 2,000) problem.

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