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Biased Buyers Blocking Open Source

ComputerWorldUK - Simon Phipps -  A recent report shows that 17% of ICT procurement across Europe is biased, with the UK the 4th most common offender.

The market for public services is very large - almost 20% of Europe's GDP in 2009 - and continues to grow. It's consequently a valuable source of business and provides an economic stimulus to Europe that's far more significant than any individual initiative a government might devise.

It's thus in Europe's interest to ensure that market is as open as possible, so that the effects of the "stimulus package" of public procurement can benefit any qualified player. That's especially the case in ICT, where there's a tendency for legacy US vendors to lock in customers and thus lock out European participants.

How do you do open procurement for ICT solutions? The answer, according to the European Commission, is to ensure that all procurement that requires tendering (and not all does) is specified in terms of the functions required rather than expressing a preference for the brands involved in the solution. That makes huge sense and is likely to create an open, competitive market, with all the cost savings you'd expect.

That's why it's now a legal requirement for public authorities across Europe to procure this way. Directive 2004/18/EC says: