It seems like only last week that I was writing about the Association for Competitive Technology and one of its reports blasting that wicked free software stuff – and indeed, it was.
But that hasn't stopped its plucky President, Jonathan Zuck, from fulminating again against that hydra-headed, vile and appalling openness, this time in Europe:
At a conference today, the European Commission presented a revised European Interoperability Framework, which defines the general rules and principles for collaboration on interoperability between Member States and EU institutions.
Jonathan Zuck, President of the Association for Competitive Technology, said: “The EU scores an own goal with this document. It aims to facilitate digital cooperation among European administrations, but in effect it excludes many well-established technologies from being used for e-Government services due to a narrow definition of open standards.”
That revised European Interoperability Framework hasn't actually been released yet, but that doesn't stop Mr Zuck lambasting it:
“This will hurt first and foremost innovative tech start-ups that rely on patent protection to establish themselves in the marketplace.”
Well, actually, no. As Mr. Zuck knows, you can't patent software in Europe (“as such”, and all that casuistry), so any “innovative tech start-up” that relies on patents in this marketplace either needs to fire its lawyers, or else has such weak products that it has clearly been forced to fall back on the “let's patent it and pretend we've got something valuable” ploy in desperation.
He goes on:
“Contrary to what is often said, commercial software is not the playground of big business, but primarily of inventive SMEs thriving in niche markets.”
And there was silly old me believing that multi-billion dollar companies like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and SAP cumulatively dominated the commercial software scene, but no, apparently: it's actually Fred Bloggs in his attic, puffing on his pipe as he codes up his specialist whippet-racing app on his trusty childhood ZX81, who is master of the universe here, along with his mates from the pub.
Mr. Zuck continues:
”Commercial software must be allowed to compete on a level-playing field with other software types.”
You probably thought that the playing-field was tilted unfairly towards Microsoft, given that practically all EU contracts until recently specified compatibility with its proprietary products and formats, and that all the main management consultants worked hand in glove with Microsoft, and that Microsoft was able to spend some of its cash hoard of tens of billions of dollars on slick marketing campaigns and highly-vocal lobbyists. How wrong you were.
You see, Microsoft is the victim here: it's a weak and vulnerable player, constantly attacked by those cruel, free software lot, what with Richard Stallman saying nasty things about proprietary software and hurting Steve “Retiring Wallflower” Ballmer's delicate feelings.
What we need, Mr Zuck reveals to us, is a *truly* level playing field where that poor, whimpering underdog Microsoft is given just half a chance to lay out its 'umble wares before the cold, supercilious glare of the effete and arrogant eurocrats on the off-chance they might dip their manicured hands into their silken pockets and extract a costive bob or two. Is that really too much to ask? Think of the children...