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EU Will Not Divulge Microsoft Contracts 219

Elektroschock writes "Marco Cappato, a Liberal member of the European Parliament, wanted to inspect the EU's contracts with Microsoft. His request was denied. '...the [divulging] of [this] information could jeopardize the protection of commercial interest of Microsoft.' Apparently the European Council sees no clear public interest in the release of such contractual material, and so 'the Secretariat general concludes that the protection of Microsoft's commercial interests, being one of the commercial partners of the European institutions, prevails on the [divulging] for the public interest.'"
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EU Will Not Divulge Microsoft Contracts

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  • Re:What Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by stocke2 ( 600251 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @04:19PM (#25725193)
    The problem is this is public money being spent, and they should be willing to divulge this information to clear up any ideas people might get concerning government collusion with a large corporation. They are free to use whomever the please, but the practices they use in determining who to contract with should be a matter of publicly available policy.

    They need to protect businesses equally, and if it appears they may be protecting a certain business over others, it does make it look as if there might be a conflict of intrests with the public good.

    I am not saying that is the case, just that they should make it clear that it is not the case.
  • by Duckie01 ( 10586 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @04:29PM (#25725359)

    So let me make sure I understand ... this is basically the EU equivalent of a United States Senator [Marco Cappato, a Liberal member of the European Parliament] asking the House of Representatives [the European Council] for a contract the House negotiated on behalf of the government and getting denied?

    Well yes at least to my understanding that would, unfortunately, be quite accurate.

    I'm a EU citizen... I don't like this *at*all*.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @04:49PM (#25725631)
    The American way: Something Un-american coming from Europe = Socialism. Something Un-american coming from elsewhere = Terrism.
  • Re:What Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by LateArthurDent ( 1403947 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @04:55PM (#25725713)

    However it is the right of governments to decide what they make public and not.

    Why? I mean, if the government is feudalism you might justify that by saying that the nobles were more important than the rabble. In a democracy, the government works for the people not the other way around. That means the government doesn't have the "right" to do anything against the wishes of the people.

    And for my American friends remember that we have a different view on things like this, usually European governments are MORE open than the US.

    Something you apparently don't value, because you think the government should be allowed to be less open if it decides to. Lack of openness in the US government is a problem that needs to be rectified, it's not a goal you should aim for.

  • Re:What Rights? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Ethanol-fueled ( 1125189 ) * on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:07PM (#25725875) Homepage Journal
    Agreed, given the EU's past hostility to Microsoft in the form of Antitrust enforcement []. At least they have the balls to step up and fine Microsoft.

    The secrecy may or may not be a bad thing but I doubt that it's there because of some ultra-shady backroom deal, but after the OOXML fiasco, who knows...
  • Re:What Rights? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:12PM (#25725941) Homepage
    EU what?
    I'm sorry but exactly what kind of enforcement agencies those the EU have?

    AFAIK the only intelligence agency is Europol, and all it's investigation are performed by member nations it has no executive rights anywhere as far as I know...

    My guess is that EU got a really dirt cheap deal for some software... And promised not to tell others... Like everybody else...
  • by pejyel ( 1275304 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:18PM (#25726013)

    When has the European Parliament and the public interest ever coincided?

    Hum let me think ...
    When it voted against the 3-strikes law for downloaders? []
    When it voted against software patents? []
    When it voted for restrictions on the use of radioactive weapons? []
    The EU Parliament [] can really hardly be criticized, except for the fact that it doesn't have that much power, which in my opinion is a real pity. Go troll elsewhere. []

  • Re:What Rights? (Score:5, Informative)

    by deraj123 ( 1225722 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:41PM (#25726297)
    There's a big difference between bids being sealed during the bidding process, and them being opened after the deadline has passed. The first practice prevents the situation you're describing, while the second practice provides for public knowledge of how tax money is spent.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @05:51PM (#25726423)

    Microsoft pays taxes in every country where it has headquarters... that's at least France, the UK and Germany, and probably most of the other European countries.

  • by Chas ( 5144 ) on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @06:23PM (#25726795) Homepage Journal

    They're talking about contracts. Signed and sealed deals between MS and the EU. That gives zero competitive advantage to ANYONE, because the deal already went through, and the next time you have to compete with Microsoft on a completely different project.

  • Already done (Score:3, Informative)

    by andersh ( 229403 ) * on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:14PM (#25727343)

    Really? So the public should be able to view your tax returns?

    We already have that in Scandinavia, you can search them online or visit the tax office and request them.

    The newspapers usually make quite a deal out of it, showing the highest earners for each county and so on.

  • Re:What Rights? (Score:4, Informative)

    by jopsen ( 885607 ) <> on Tuesday November 11, 2008 @07:52PM (#25727709) Homepage

    My guess is that their prices dipped to near-zero while they were being prosecuted in European courts in order to help influence opinion about Microsoft...

    Are you insinuating that there're any links what so ever between what the European court and the contracts the EU counsel have to buy software?

    The judges who convicted MS in the antitrust case were not politicians and they were not publicly elected!
    To insinuate that the European court could be bribed by offering cheap contracts to EU counsel is absurd.

    (I assume the contracts we're talking about is the software delivery contracts Microsoft has with EU, where EU is a customer).

    The real reason it interesting is because the European Union probably did a study as to whether or not an opensource solution would be better. And they probably found that Microsoft suddenly would offer their software for close to nothing... And then the politicians decides that they'll get Microsoft since the price is not that much different... Only problem he doesn't see is the lockin... :)

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