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  1. <?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
  2. <html newsdate="2014-07-08">
  3. <head>
  4. <title>EC distorts market by refusing to break free from lock-in</title>
  5. </head>
  6. <body class="press release">
  7. <h1>EC distorts market by refusing to break free from lock-in</h1>
  8. <p newsteaser="yes">
  9. The European Commission has recently renewed its commitment to a
  10. proprietary desktop and secret file formats.The Commission is refusing
  11. to get serious about breaking free from vendor lock-in, and is
  12. ignoring all available alternatives. In doing so, the EU's civil
  13. service fails to practice what it preaches.
  14. </p>
  15. <p>
  16. In April, the Commission signed two contracts with Microsoft: An
  17. <a href="http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:140675-2014:TEXT:EN:HTML">agreement for "high-level services"</a> worth 44 million Euro,
  18. and a <a href="http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:140672-2014:TEXT:EN:HTML">framework agreement on software licensing conditions</a>. The
  19. actual licenses are provided by Hewlett-Packard under <a href="http://ted.europa.eu/udl?uri=TED:NOTICE:105131-2012:TEXT:EN:HTML">a separate
  20. contract from 2012</a>, worth 50 million euro. The contracts cover
  21. the Commission itself, and 54 other EU organisations.
  22. </p>
  23. <blockquote><p>
  24. "We are extremely disappointed about the lack of progress here," says
  25. FSFE president Karsten Gerloff. "The Commission has not even looked
  26. for viable alternatives. Its lazy approach to software procurement
  27. leaves the Commission open to allegations of inertia, and worse."
  28. </p></blockquote>
  29. <p>
  30. The Commission
  31. recently <a href="http://download.fsfe.org/policy/procurement/201401.EC_Future_Office_Automation.pdf">admitted
  32. publicly for the first time</a> that it is in "effective captivity" to
  33. Microsoft. But <a href="http://download.fsfe.org/policy/procurement/">documents obtained by FSFE</a> show that the
  34. Commission has made no serious effort to find solutions based on Open
  35. Standards. In consequence, a large part of Europe's IT industry is
  36. essentially locked out of doing business with the Commission.
  37. </p>
  38. <p>
  39. In a <a href="http://download.fsfe.org/policy/procurement/201401.EC_Future_Office_Automation.pdf">strategy paper which the Commission released</a> in response to official questions from MEP Andersdotter,
  40. the EC lays out a three-track approach for its office automation
  41. platform for the coming years. This strategy will only deepen the
  42. Commission's reliance on secret, proprietary file formats and
  43. programs.
  44. </p>
  45. <blockquote><p>
  46. "The Commission should be setting a positive example for public
  47. administrations across Europe," comments Gerloff. "Instead, it shirks
  48. its responsibility as a public administrations, and simply claims that
  49. such alternatives don't exist. Even the most basic market analysis
  50. would have told the Commission that there's a vibrant Free Software
  51. industry in Europe that it could have relied on."
  52. </p></blockquote>
  53. <p>
  54. Many public organisations in Europe are successfully using Free
  55. Software solutions that implement Open Standards. Examples are the
  56. German city of Munich with its internationally recognised Limux
  57. project, and the UK government, which has made great strides in using
  58. Free Software and Open Standards to obtain value for money in IT
  59. procurement. Over the years, many of these progressive organisations
  60. <a href="https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/news/mayor-munich-eu-laptops-should-have-libreoffice-or-openoffice">
  61. have asked the Commission for practical and moral support</a> for
  62. their course. This latest move by the Commission will seem a cruel
  63. joke to them.
  64. </p>
  65. <p>
  66. Despite this setback, FSFE will continue to work with the Commission,
  67. and help it improve the way it buys software. It could do so by
  68. relying on specifications and standards rather than brand names, by
  69. using an open call for tender instead of talking to a single vendor,
  70. and by figuring future exit costs into the price of any new
  71. solution. These practices are fast becoming the norm across Europe's
  72. public sector. The EC should practice what it preaches, and adopt
  73. these practices for its own procurement.
  74. </p>
  75. </body>
  76. <sidebar news="free software, procurement, EC, Open Standards">
  77. </sidebar>
  78. <tags>
  79. <tag>front-page</tag>
  80. <tag>eu</tag>
  81. <tag>Procurement</tag>
  82. </tags>
  83. </html>