JOINT RESEARCH by the Institute of Directors and US software giant Oracle suggests that British companies are 'frighteningly' far behind their American and European counterparts in recognising the threat posed by the Internet to the UK domestic market. According to the study, only 2% of British companies believe the Internet poses a threat by overseas competitors to their UK markets. This complacency contrasts starkly with attitudes elsewhere: 23% of Norwegian companies perceived a threat, as did 17% of German firms and 14% of US businesses. Fewer than one in 25 of the UK sample thought that costs could be reduced through use of the Web. Some of the major UK businesses participating in the study criticised the majority of British companies as 'laggards', although viewing their own performance as 'innovative' in the use of IT. [Cynics - not, of course, Debrief’s editor - are prone to believe that surveys commissioned by commercial sponsors tend to produce findings coincident with their sponsor’s interests - otherwise they are recycled in the waste-paper bin!]