EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

06.09.11

European Commission Wants to Pay Commissions to the United States

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Patents, RAND at 1:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: The European Commission makes strategic mistakes that weaken Europe and give more power to its rivals across the Atlantic, especially gruesome software monopolists

TECHRIGHTS has a lot of respect for Neelie Kroes and the Commission, but if the current agenda is to pay American companies for the privilege of running systems with American back doors (e.g. FBI access), then the European Digital Agenda (note capitalisation) is a bit of a farce. It also puts the continent at great risk in case of a future war.

A couple of years ago we showed how the Commission had been manipulated by lobbyists, then we also showed dubious appointments that made the Commission somewhat hostile towards Free software, and arguably European SMEs too. See for instance some of the following posts:

  1. European Commission Disappoints Regarding Free Software and Patents
  2. Why Today’s European Commission Could Face Legal Action for Selling Out to Microsoft
  3. Patents Roundup: Commission Sells Out to Microsoft; Apple and RIM Sued by Gates-backed Kodak
  4. Inaction From Ombudsman/EU Commission Regarding Microsoft Lobbyists Derailing Public Policy
  5. With New Patent Policy, European Commission Harms European Software Industry
  6. European Open Source Software Workgroup a Total Scam: Hijacked and Subverted by Microsoft et al
  7. Microsoft’s AstroTurfing, Twitter, Waggener Edstrom, and Jonathan Zuck
  8. Does the European Commission Harbour a Destruction of Free/Open Source Software Workgroup?
  9. The Illusion of Transparency at the European Parliament/Commission (on Microsoft)
  10. 2 Months and No Disclosure from the European Parliament
  11. After 3 Months, Europe Lets Microsoft-Influenced EU Panel be Seen
  12. Formal Complaint Against European Commission for Harbouring Microsoft Lobbyists
  13. ‘European’ Software Strategy Published, Written by Lobbyists and Multinationals
  14. Microsoft Uses Inside Influence to Grab Control, Redefine “Open Source”
  15. With Friends Like These, Who Needs Microsoft?
  16. European Commission Still Lobbied by Microsoft, OASIS Does Not Support Software Freedom

Neelie and her speech writer who helps manage her blog are no longer in the department which deals with the Microsoft case, but it is hard to forget her more recent remarks that may conflict with her views on Free software.

In the video above, Neelie speaks not in her mother’s tongue and she actually maintains an interesting YouTube channel a lot of which is in Dutch. She did a better job in the Commission than some of her successors, whom we recently showed to be supportive of RAND (with software patents). They are being stuffed by lobbyists and the following new comments berates them for it. The European commenter writes:

If I am not mistaken Oracle is an American company and Mingorance a lobbyist of an American rightsholder organisation. I can’t see how views from American lobbyists are relevant for a European Digital Agenda, other than that we have to break free from our US lock-ins in the digital markets. In other words, let’s do what hurts them most. Small companies from Europe, companies which actually pay their taxes in Europe, are excluded here. What had the Commission in mind?

In the past, back when the Commission did some laudable work with the likes of Neelie in the right chair, telling off the Commission would seem unreasonably disrespectful. But things have changed. Right now, for example, even the FSFE criticises the Commission by showing that it sets a bad example for others to follow. To quote:

In the Commission’s answer to Staes, EC Vice-President Maros Sefcovic argues that “[t]he Commission does not rely on (or is locked into) one single software vendor”, citing the fact that the Commission’s IT infrastructure uses software from many different vendors.

[...]

While lock-in is a problem that troubles many organisations, our next concern is quite specific to this case: We believe that the European Commission should have put out a public call for tender when it wanted a new software platform. Instead, the EC simply declares that the move to Windows 7 is just an “upgrade” – just a newer version of the same product.

If “it’s just an upgrade” becomes acceptable as an excuse to ignore the competition and cozy up to a single supplier, then Europe’s market is in trouble; and not just the one for software. Imagine a local administration that decides to have the town’s main street repaved by the same company that built it in the first place, saying that they’re just “upgrading” the road surface. No new competitor would ever get a foot in the door. Public bodies would hardly ever have to hold competitive bidding procedures for any type of product or service they’ve bought before. This simply cannot be right.

The foundation of Europe’s procurement rules, Directive 2004/18/EC, says that those rules are intended to guarantee the opening-up of public procurement to competition. But it looks like in this instance, the EC has found a way to sidestep that goal, letting inertia (let’s be kind here, ok?) take precedence over competition and long-term value for Europe’s citizens. The Commission itself feels the need to emphasise that “it always complies with public procurement legislation”. We’d certainly hope so.

It doesn’t help that the EC is obviously confused on the commercial nature of Free Software when it uses “open source” as the opposite of “commercial software”. Some people in the Commission seem to believe that there is no money to be made with Free Software. The many companies that have built their business on software freedom would certainly argue otherwise.

This is not the first such complaint from the FSFE.

Whatever happened to the European Commission, it is now in danger of earning notoriety just like NATO or the UN. If it allows itself to be steered by lobbyists and monopolies, then there is no longer need for it. Taxpayers just do not receive what they paid for, not even fines imposed on Microsoft for breaking the law [1, 2] (which has cost European citizens a lot of money over the years). We need the ‘old’ Neelie back — the assertive one, not the softened one.

Share this post: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Reddit
  • co.mments
  • DZone
  • email
  • Google Bookmarks
  • LinkedIn
  • NewsVine
  • Print
  • Technorati
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook

If you liked this post, consider subscribing to the RSS feed or join us now at the IRC channels.

Pages that cross-reference this one

What Else is New


  1. Links 22/12/2014: GNU/Linux at Sky News, Another Tizen Camera

    Links for the day



  2. IRC Proceedings: November 30th, 2014 – December 20th, 2014

    Many IRC logs



  3. Links 21/12/2014: China and Linux, GNOME Shell 3.15.3

    Links for the day



  4. The New Age of Games for UNIX/Linux But Not for Windows, Microsoft is Openwashing Windows-Only Games

    The world is moving to GNU- and Linux-powered platforms, so Microsoft withdraws GNU/Linux support from games it buys and starts openwashing its Windows-only games



  5. Microsoft Essentially Sends Malware to Windows and Bricks It

    Microsoft is once again bricking Vista 7, demonstrating lack of reliability or very low quality programming



  6. Microsoft Lays Off Staff, Cheapens Labour as More Companies Are Dumping Microsoft's Lock-in, NSA-Friendly Services, and Windows

    A look at some of Microsoft's latest woes, including an appeal for cheaper labour amid decrease in business



  7. Links 19/12/2014: Robolinux 7.7.1 LXDE, Red Hat Thriving

    Links for the day



  8. Another Microsoft Partner Markets Linux FUD Using Logo, Name, and Lies

    Microsoft's partner Alert Logic is trying to label a feature of Linux a security flaw and even makes marketing buzz for it



  9. Redmonk is Spreading Black Duck's Anti-GPL Talking Points After Payments From Black Duck, Microsoft

    CBS' ZDNet spreads the GNU-hostile narrative which comes from Redmonk, funded by Microsoft and Black Duck, citing Black Duck, which also comes from Microsoft and is a partner of Microsoft



  10. 'Good' Software Patents From EA Show Cases Where DRM is a Patent Infringement

    Where two evils collide the public benefits, or how some software patents discourage the use of DRM



  11. Richard Stallman: What Does It Mean for Your Computer to Be Loyal?

    New article from Richard Stallman



  12. Links 18/12/2014: LinuxQuestions.org Polls, Fedora for POWER

    Links for the day



  13. Links 16/12/2014: Google and ODF, Civilization: Beyond Earth Comes to GNU/Linux

    Links for the day



  14. Bill Gates' Pet Troll Intellectual Ventures is Collapsing as Founder Quits

    Intellectual Ventures founder leaves after an exceptionally large round of layoffs, despite [cref 77299 recent subsidies from Sony and Microsoft]



  15. Keeping Software Patents Out of Europe Following the Demise of Software Patents in the US

    Instability in the EPO seemingly prevents further expansion of patent scope, which is the subject of scrutiny of EPO staff



  16. Links 15/12/2014: OSI 2014 Annual Report, GPLv2 Court Test

    Links for the day



  17. Links 14/12/2014: Calligra 2.9 Beta, Krita 2.9 Beta

    Links for the day



  18. Software Patents Are Dying in the US, But Patent Lawyers Refuse to Admit It

    Patent lawyers continue to distort the reality of software patents' demise in the United States



  19. Links 13/12/2014: Android Wear “Lollipop”, European Commission and FOSS

    Links for the day



  20. Time to Take Microsoft Out of British Aviation Before Planes Crash Into Buildings

    London's mighty Heathrow Airport among those affected by a Microsoft-reliant air traffic control system which is not being able to properly recover from an outage, and not for the first time either



  21. News From France and Germany: Battistelli Under Fire, But Not Fired Yet, Just Firing His Opposition

    The régime headed by Benoît Battistelli and his criminal deputy continues to overthrow or pressure out everyone who is not 'loyal' to the régime



  22. Links 12/12/2014: Linux++, KDE Frameworks 5.5.0, Calligra 2.8.7

    Links for the day



  23. The USPTO is Broken: New Evidence Presented

    The scope of patents, as evidenced by some statistical figures and individual patents, shows that the USPTO is broken and must be reformed or dismantled



  24. US Patent Reform (on Trolls Only) More or Less Buried or Ineffective

    An update on efforts to reform the patent system in the United States, including the possibly imminent appointment of Michelle Lee to USPTO leadership role



  25. Software Patents in Canada Not Dead Yet

    Canada's patent status quo increasingly like that of the United States and Canadian giants like BlackBerry now pose a threat to software developers



  26. Dreaming of a Just Christmas: When a Third of EPO Walks Out to Revolt and European Judges Attack the EPO Over Abuses

    Information about the abuses of Battistelli et al. at the EPO are finally receiving wider coverage and increasing the strain on Battistelli's authoritarian reign



  27. Links 11/12/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 Beta, Firefox 35 Plans

    Links for the day



  28. Ubuntu Core Announcement is Not About Microsoft and Hosting Ubuntu on Azure is Worse Than Stupid

    The power of media spin makes the idea of hosting Free software under the control of an NSA PRISM and back doors partner seem alluring



  29. France Gets Involved in Battistelli's Abuses in the EPO - Part XII (Updated)

    The EPO scandal has officially spilled over to France, where a French Senator got involved and starts asking serious questions



  30. Rolling of Heads Likely Imminent at EPO

    The European patent system is shaking as management breaks the rules, staff is protesting against the management every week, and charges of corruption resurface


CoPilotCo

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channel: Come and chat with us in real time

CoPilotCo

Recent Posts