Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Relevant link of today: ComputerWeekly article on procurement of the European Comission

ComputerWeekly.com is featuring an interesting article today on the decision of the European Commission, DG DIGIT, to go into negotiations with Microsoft on buying Windows 7 operating system licences by the way of "proceeding under an exceptional clause of competition law that allows the commission to exclude other software vendors from a chance of winning the business". The article raises the questions in how far this is due to lock-in into proprietary single-vendor technology and in how far the Commission, with this decision, does act against its own principles as expressed in the Digital Agenda:

"Microsoft lock-in forces European Commission into Windows 7 upgrade talks

"Mark Ballard 
"Tuesday 05 April 2011 12:54

"The European Commission has been forced into extraordinary negotiations with Microsoft because it is locked in to using the vendor's software [...] "
And the author quotes Commissioner Kroes with a statement on lock-in made at an event last year:
"Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes cited vendor lock-in as one of the motives for the Digital Agenda when she was campaigning for it last year.

"'Many authorities have found themselves unintentionally locked in to proprietary technology for decades,' Kroes said in a speech in June 2010.

"'After a certain point, that original choice becomes so ingrained that alternatives risk being systematically ignored, no matter what the potential benefits. This is a waste of public money that most public bodies can no longer afford,' she said"

Read the full article online on ComputerWeekly.com. See also a previous post on this topic when NYT had addressed the same issue.


Anonymous said...

How come, an institution that has just liberated formerly closed and monopolised markets like e. g. the telecommunication market, now fosters the monopolisation of the office communication market? The telecommunication markets are nowadays regulated such that no competitor is allowed to dominate the market. Why does the same european commission foster the monopolisation of the office communication market where at a time of E-Government action plans and european interoperability strategies it should come to think about regulating this market?


Jochen Friedrich said...

Hey Michael, That's a very good point you are making. I very much like your analogy with the liberalisation, de-regulation and regulation in the telecom market. I agree that there could be many best practices to learn from regarding software interoperability in the IT market.