[FSFE PR][EN] EC tells public bodies to break free from lock-in

Free Software Foundation Europe press at fsfeurope.org
Tue Jun 25 13:42:46 CEST 2013

== EC tells public bodies to break free from lock-in==

   [Read online: https://fsfe.org/news/2013/news-20130625-02.en.html ]

In a Communication published today, the European Commission urges
public bodies to break free from vendor lock-in in their IT
systems. The Commission wants public bodies to rely on standards
rather than brand names and proprietary technology when they buy software.

In its Communication titled "Against lock-in" [1], the Commission
highlights that public bodies unnecessarily spend 1.1 billion Euro every
year because they do not allow more competition among their suppliers.
The Commission cites studies saying that 16% of public procurements make
reference to brand names. According to the Communication, costs for IT
contracts drop by 9% when public bodies manage to double the number of
companies bidding for those contracts.

"Public bodies waste more than a billion Euro every year on systems that
are black boxes to them, preventing Free Software companies from
offering their services. This needs to stop," says Karsten Gerloff,
president of the Free Software Foundation Europe. "Relying on Open
Standards [2] will mean that taxpayers' money is spent more efficiently,
and on more innovative solutions."

In a 2011 survey cited in the Communication, 50% of public bodies stated
that they lack the expertise to decide which standards they need to ask
for. The Commission intends to respond by providing guidance and
promoting best practices. It also says that it will use the same
approach to improve its own procurement practices, which FSFE had
criticised in the past [3].

"We look forward to seeing the European Commission lead the way, and
open its own desktop systems to competition from different suppliers",
says Gerloff.

While a number of European member states already have progressive
policies on standards-based procurement, these only have value if they
are actually implemented. FSFE looks forward to supporting the
Commission and public bodies everywhere in Europe in moving to
standards-based procurement practices.

1.  http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-602_en.htm?locale=en
2.  https://fsfe.org/activities/os/def.en.html
3.  https://fsfe.org/news/2010/news-20101207-01.en.html

== About the Free Software Foundation Europe ==

  The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is a non-profit
  non-governmental organisation active in many European countries and
  involved in many global activities. Access to software determines
  participation in a digital society. To secure equal participation in
  the information age, as well as freedom of competition, the Free
  Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) pursues and is dedicated to the
  furthering of Free Software, defined by the freedoms to use, study,
  modify and copy. Founded in 2001, creating awareness for these issues,
  securing Free Software politically and legally, and giving people
  Freedom by supporting development of Free Software are central issues
  of the FSFE.


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