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 23/10/2014: New *buntu, Benchmarks

    Links for the day



  2. Links 22/10/2014: Chromebooks Surge, NSA Android Endorsement

    Links for the day



  3. Links 21/10/2014: Debian Fork Debate, New GNU IceCat

    Links for the day



  4. Criminal Microsoft is Censoring the Web and Breaks Laws to Do So; the Web Should Censor (Remove) Microsoft

    Microsoft is still breaking the Internet using completely bogus takedown requests (an abuse of DMCA) and why Microsoft Windows, which contains weaponised back doors (shared with the NSA), should be banned from the Internet, not just from the Web



  5. Microsoft 'Loving' GNU/Linux and Other Corporate Media Fiction

    Microsoft has bullied or cleverly bribed enough technology-centric media sites to have them characterise Microsoft as a friend of Free/Open Source software (FOSS) that also "loves Linux"



  6. India May be Taking Bill Gates to Court for Misusing His So-called 'Charity' to Conduct Clinical Trials Without Consent on Behalf of Companies He Invests in

    Bill Gates may finally be pulled into the courtroom again, having been identified for large-scale abuses that he commits in the name of profit (not "charity")



  7. The Problems With Legal Workarounds, Patent Scope, and Expansion of Patent Trolls to the East

    Patent trolls are in the news again and it's rather important, albeit for various different reasons, more relevant than the ones covered here in the past



  8. Links 20/10/2014: Cloudera and Red Hat, Debian 7.7, and Vivid Vervet

    Links for the day



  9. Links 20/10/2014: 10 Years Since First Ubuntu Release

    Links for the day



  10. How Patent Lawyers Analyze Alice v. CLS Bank

    Breaking down a patent lawyer's analysis of a Supreme Court's decision that seemingly invalidated hundreds of thousands of software patents



  11. Is It Google's Turn to Head the USPTO Corporation?

    The industry-led USPTO continues to be coordinated by some of its biggest clients, despite issues associated with conflicting interests



  12. The EPO's Public Relations Disaster Amid Distrust From Within (and EPO Communications Chief Leaves): Part VII

    Amid unrest and suspicion of misconduct in the EPO's management (ongoing for months if not years), Transparency International steps in, but the EPO's management completely ignores Transparency International, refusing to collaborate; the PR chief of the EPO is apparently being pushed out in the mean time



  13. Links 18/10/2014: Debian Plans for Init Systems, Tails 1.2

    Links for the day



  14. Links 18/10/2014: New ELive, Android Expansion

    Links for the day



  15. Another Fresh Blow to Software Patents (and With Them Patent Trolls)

    Another new development shows that more burden of proof is to be put on the litigant, thus discouraging the most infamous serial patent aggressors and reducing the incentive to settle with a payment out of court



  16. Links 16/10/2014: New Android, SSL 3.0 Flaw

    Links for the day



  17. How the Corporate Press Deceives and Sells Microsoft Agenda

    Various new examples of media propaganda that distorts or makes up the facts (bias/lies by omission/selection) and where this is all coming from



  18. Vista 10 is Still Vapourware, But We Already Know It Will Increase Surveillance on Its Users and Contain Malicious Back Doors

    The villainous company which makes insecure-by-design operating systems will continue to do so, but in the mean time the corporate press covers only bugs in FOSS, not back doors in proprietary software



  19. Links 15/10/2014: KDE Plasma 5.1 is Out, GOG Reaches 100-Title Mark

    Links for the day



  20. With .NET Foundation Affiliation Xamarin is Another Step Closer to Being Absorbed by Microsoft

    Xamarin is not even trying to pretend that separation exists between Microsoft and its work; yet another collaboration is announced



  21. The EPO's Protection Triangle of Battistelli, Kongstad, and Topić: Part VI

    Jesper Kongstad, Benoît Battistelli, and Zeljko Topić are uncomfortably close personally and professionally, so suspicions arise that nepotism and protectionism play a negative role that negatively affects the European public



  22. Corporate Media Confirms the Demise of Software Patents in the United States; Will India and Europe Follow?

    It has become increasingly official that software patents are being weakened in the United States' USPTO as well as the courts; will software leaders such as India and Europe stop trying to imitate the old USPTO?



  23. Links 14/10/2014: CAINE 6, New RHEL, Dronecode

    Links for the day



  24. Microsoft's Disdain for Women Steals the Show at a Women's Event

    Steve Ballmer's successor, Satya Nadella, is still too tactless to lie to the audience, having been given --through subversive means -- a platform at a conference that should have shunned Microsoft, a famously misogynistic company



  25. SCOTUS May Soon Put an End to the 'Copyrights on APIs' Question While Proprietary Giants Continue to Harass Android/Linux in Every Way Conceivable

    Google takes its fight over API freedom to the Supreme Court in the Unites States and it also takes that longstanding patent harassment from the Microsoft- and Apple-backed troll (Rockstar) out of East Texas



  26. Patent Lawsuits Almost Halved After SCOTUS Ruling on 'Abstract' Software Patents

    The barrier for acceptance of software patent applications is raised in the United States and patent lawsuits, many of which involve software these days, are down very sharply, based on new figures from Lex Machina



  27. Links 13/10/2014: ChromeOS and EXT, Debian Resists Systemd Domination

    Links for the day



  28. Links 12/10/2014: Blackphone Tablet, Sony's Firefox OS Port

    Links for the day



  29. Links 9/10/2014: Free Software in Germany, Lenovo Tablets With Android

    Links for the day



  30. Links 8/10/2014: A Lot of Linux+AMD News, New ROSA Desktop Is Out

    Links for the day


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