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2 studies, 2 differents vision of innovation and competitivity in Europe

December 16, 2005

Some days ago, IDC published a study carried out on behalf of the BSA (Business Software Alliance). In this study, they promised the creation of 4 000 new jobs and the addition of 2.6 billion US$ to the economical growth in Belgium if software piracy is reduced by 10% between 2006 and 2009. For France, it is a promise of 30 000 new jobs and an addition of 13.7 billion US$ to the economical growth!

Although I know which companies are “hiding” behind the BSA (Microsoft, Adobe, …), I think that this continuous battle against software piracy could only be a benefit for the free software industry. With exceptions of some job-specific software, I think free software have now all the capacities to be used in the industry (imho ; and there are software which are only available as free for some jobs). Therefore, to oblige people to acquire licences is also, in a way, to oblige them to ask themselves questions of costs and dependences to their suppliers. And, perhaps that the idea of a migration to (or to remain with) free software can be seriously taken.

On the “other” side, a study on innovation and competitiveness in Europe (PDF 1.8Mo), carried out by PricewaterhouseCoopers on behalf of the Ministry for the Dutch Economic affairs, presents the future European law on the patents as a particular threat for the ICT industry in Europe. The study takes in example the rather moderate protection set up around IP protocol, the www, Linux, … (discoveries made in Europe) which made it possible to maintain a “competitive and innovating” software industry while limiting the entry of new actors on the market. However, according to the study, the nature itself of the patents could kill the innovations rate/rhythm in communication and information technologies. In conclusion, this study also identifies 10 potential important technological progresses and recommends to the European Union to lower the barriers of entry on the ICT market and to encourage the investment and the standardisation.

Linux, interoperability, standardisation, position on patents, … I prefer this study by PwC and you?

(J’ai également publié ce mot en français sur LinuxFr)

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