The EU has pretty strongly emphasized that government procurement should not prop up monopoly, yet the practice continues.“Each year 15 per cent of public administrations flout procurement rules by requesting specific brands and trademarks that prevent competition, shows aÂ European study into 12.808 ICT procurement requests published over the past five years. Nearly a quarter of all awarded ICT requests got one single offer, also indicating there is a lack of competition when it comes to government ICT solutions.” The biggest offenders keep asking for M$’s products when they should be asking for competitive tenders for IT. Many requests for proposals are answered by a single supplier, evidence of monopoly, when if the requests were for operating systems or office-suites, there may be many more answers.
The EC has already decided to tighten up its policy.
“EC policy makers recognise that open source reduces their ICT costs, makes possible the modernisation of government services and will strengthen European ICT service providers, Damas said. â€œOur internal policy is changing, and open source use will be given promoted. When procuring software products, we will consider open source alongside proprietary alternatives, based on value for money. In defined areas, for example Information Systems development distributed externally, we will give open source priority.â€”
If persuasion and respect for the taxpayers’ money are not enough, it’s time the EU considered some consequences for this abuse. If it’s this bad in the EU, and a large number of requests for products were not even made public, imagine how bad it is in Canada, my country, where the government has only dipped its toe into the pool of FLOSS. It’s time the world stopped giving M$ and “partners” a free ride. The employees of governments are not supposed to be M$’s agents. Employees who flout the rules on M$’s behalf are criminals, not employees upholding their fiduciary responsibilities. If they won’t do that, they should be fired or jailed.