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Technology Rivals Lobby to Break Microsoft’s Hold Over European Governments

A European plan to advise governments on software purchases has set off a lobbying battle this summer between the U.S. software giant Microsoft and its rivals Google, I.B.M., Red Hat and Oracle over a set of guidelines that could redefine the competitive landscape for proprietary and open-source software.

The focus is a document called the European Interoperability Framework, a recommendation by the European Commission that national, provincial and local governments in the 27-nation European Union will consult when buying software. Open-source software advocates including Google, International Business Machine, Oracle and Red Hat, through a lobbying group, are pushing for a strong endorsement of open-source platforms in the document.

The outcome of the debate has the potential to erode Microsoft’s significant public-sector market lead in Europe by encouraging governments to buy open-source software, which currently runs a tiny fraction of government systems.

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