EU says, Costs of Open Source Outweigh the Benefits?

FACT: According to a Reuters story today, “The European Commission, a thorn in Microsoft’s side for its antitrust campaigns against the software giant, is falling short in its own internal attempt to promote more competition in the technology sector. The European Union executive has so far not followed its own policy that it purchase office software and operating systems with open standards as well as Microsoft products.”

(c) European CommunityIn the money quote, according to the Reuters story, the EU’s director of IT solutions “said in an interview arranged by a spokeswoman for Commissioner Siim Kallas, who oversees procurement, that studies showed the costs of moving to open source outweighed the benefits.” 


ANALYSIS: File this story under “Irony” or “Do as I say, not as I do,” or maybe best under “Head-scratching I-told-you-so’s!” 

Christos Ellinides, director of corporate IT solutions and services, who recommends software for the Commission, told Reuters: “For the moment we are working in a Microsoft environment.”

[Related news items this month]

SlashDot:  City of Vienna [Austria] Back to Windows … “Slashdot readers might remember the story about the City of Vienna choosing Linux back in 2005. Now they decided to migrate back to Windows.”

Information Week: Microsoft Co-Sponsors Census Of Corporate Open Source … “the company has also increasingly been reaching out to the open source community.”

eWeek: Microsoft and its Open Source Gambit … “As for Microsoft being real in its support for open source, of course they’re for real. Yet it depends on what perspective you’re looking at. Microsoft is serious about supporting open source in some respects and fiercely competing with it in others.”

An EU spokesman cites their existing license agreement as providing Microsoft “about 4.5 million euros annually until 2011,” in exchange for software for 30,000 desktop users in the EU’s executive offices.

Now, a cynic might expect that this EU news story will cause an uproar behind closed doors at EU headquarters, and that in response a precipitous order might be issued to move post haste to open source.  But that would be placing politics (and “software ideology“) over principled decision-making, so I wouldn’t expect it.

Besides, in the words of the ever enterprise-minded professional Christos Ellinides, he points out that he “would need to talk to the European Parliament, the European Investment Bank, the Court of Auditors and the Court of Justice before considering any changes.  We like to make sure that economies of scale are taken into account, as opposed to everyone doing their own thing,” as he is wisely quoted by Reuters.

In unrelated news, winged pigs were seen hovering over much of Europe today, blocking normal air traffic….

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