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Free is dumping

In August, Philippe Latombe, a member of the French National Assembly, advised [PDF] Pap Ndiaye, the minister of national education, that the free version of Microsoft Office 365, while appealing, amounts to a form of illegal dumping. He asked the education minister what he intends to do, given the data sovereignty issues involved with storing personal data in an American cloud service.

Last week, the Ministry of National Education published a written reply to confirm that French public procurement contracts require “consideration” – payment.

Via Bloke on on M4

“Free service offers are therefore, in principle, excluded from the scope of public procurement,” the Ministry statement says, and minister Ndiaye has reportedly confirmed this position.

8 thoughts on “Free is dumping”

  1. Pretty sure the French position is an inaccurate conclusion about free not being covered in the EU. The directives set a limit above which the eu process applies below that though precedent is the treaty principles still apply. Any acquisition can still be competitive even for free services on eg functionality, standards , data collection etc. Taking into account the value represented by public sector adoption that may also be regarded as state aid if seen as positive to the vendor . Not sure about WTO GPA considerations but could be an issue as well.

  2. The Big Problem the French have is that Google, Microsoft etc are American.

    Europe hates successful American companies, because they’re successful and not European.

    So they make up rules so that they are unable to use American companies’ services.

    GDPR is a perfect example of this.

    Then, under the cover of this, they subsidize some European mash-up instead.

  3. Free is Dumping

    Yeah, it kinda is in the case of Microsoft. It is offering free subscriptions to the app and cloud to get students and organisations hooked in. It has to be free for the office app because it’s up against the free and open source LibreOffice, which France already makes great use of. Anyone who learns office workflow on LibreOffice can adapt to MS Office quite easily. There’s no great detriment to students not being taught the proprietary software.

  4. PJF,

    “Anyone who learns office workflow on LibreOffice can adapt to MS Office quite easily. There’s no great detriment to students not being taught the proprietary software.”

    Except that Libre Office doesn’t have things like collaborative editing, or cloud management of documents or just being able to edit in a browser. It’s a good standalone tool but G Suite or MS Office are more services now. And one of those is what nearly everyone will use when they leave school.

  5. PJF – if free is “dumping” when MS does it, how is it not dumping when LibreOffice (Open Office / Google Docs / take your pick) does it?

  6. BlokeinTejas @ 5.12.
    After seeing what the Yanks did to BP after Deepwater Horizon, I think there may be an element of ‘America hates successful European companies, because they’re successful and not American’.

  7. What the French minister really means is that free stuff means he won’t be able to take a kickback by buying stuff from his mates.

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