Swiss party makes dislike of PowerPoint a political issue

Switzerland's Anti-PowerPoint Party wants a referendum on banning the use of presentation software

By , IDG News Service |  Software, PowerPoint

Anti-PowerPoint Party founder and president Matthias Poehm demonstrates his preferred alternative to presentation software: the flipchart

Image credit: IDG News Service

Many people dislike PowerPoint, Microsoft's ubiquitous application for creating business presentations, but few would take a political stand over it. However, that's exactly what Switzerland's Anti-PowerPoint Party (APPP) seeks to do -- along with making a bit of money.

According to the APPP, the use of presentation software costs the Swiss economy 2.1 billion Swiss francs (US$2.5 billion) annually, while across the whole of Europe, presentation software causes an economic loss of €110 billion (US$160 billion). APPP bases its calculations on unverified assumptions about the number of employees attending presentations each week, and supposes that 85 percent of those employees see no purpose in the presentations.

Switzerland's democratic system is famously participative, with citizens able to call for a nationwide referendum on almost any subject if they can obtain the signatures of 100,000 voters. The APPP is seeking support for a national referendum to ban the use of PowerPoint and other presentation software in presentations throughout Switzerland. It also plans to present candidates for national elections in October.

The party's ambitions don't stop there: Its website is published in three of Switzerland's official languages, German, French and Italian, with parts of it also available in Croatian, English, Russian, Slovak and Spanish.

"We want the world to take note of this cause. And the whole world can talk and can be involved if it is opened for the people from all over the world. We are open for all the other world languages, we just need the volunteers to translate the website to those languages," said party founder and president Matthias Poehm, a public speaking trainer from Bonstetten, just outside Zurich. "We have members, volunteers who were so happy to participate and they have translated the entire website to Croatian. The same is with the website in Slovakian."

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