April 20, 2006 4:23 PM PDT

Paris mayor defends France's wariness of U.S. tech

The mayors of San Francisco and Paris locked arms Thursday and pledged to bridge the digital divide together.

Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe joined San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom in a round-table discussion at San Francisco's City Hall about how each city can help the other spur growth in their respective digital-media sectors. Also in attendance were representatives from local tech companies, including Lucasfilm, Dreamworks, the Orphanage and Wildbrain, as well as French technology leaders.

The meeting came as Franco-U.S. relations are supposed to be at an all-time low. Many Americans haven't forgiven France for declining to support the U.S. mission in Iraq.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the French are wary of U.S. control of the Internet.

The French National Assembly recently passed legislation that will try to force Apple Computer to make the songs it sells through its iTunes Music Store playable on competitors' devices, and not just on the iPod. The French government says Apple's tight grip on online music amounts to a monopoly. Apple has responded by calling France's decision "state-sponsored piracy."

Worried about a cultural invasion, French President Jacques Chirac has called for the

Delanoe said his visit was prompted by San Francisco's success in promoting digital media companies. He also commended Newsom's plan to offer citizens free Wi-Fi access.

Delanoe "said Paris is hoping to be the second city to do free Wi-Fi," Newsom told reporters. "This is a big issue internationally, the possibility of giving people free access to information. Mayors around the world are paying attention to what S.F. is doing. This effort is a big part of bridging the digital divide."

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30 comments

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They belong with each other
San Francisco and Paris -- two hot-beds of nanny-state
socialism. No wonder they're cozying up to each other. France
could effectively compete with the US if they trimmed their
government bureaucracy by 50%, embraced true capitalism, and
encouraged entrepreneurship. It's working in India. France
(along with Germany, although with the rise of the conservative
party in Germany that might change) is becoming the
laughingstock of the world with its lackluster economy and out-
of-control populace. If they don't do something sensible soon,
they may be in for a rude awakening when French Revolution II:
Attack of the Communists begins playing in the European
theater.

Jared
Posted by Jared White (9 comments )
Reply Link Flag
France is not exactly india
If it is working in India it may be beacause most of them are starving.
Have you been to India ?
Have you been to France ?

We have good food, nice landscape, good infrastructure, and high level though it is declining.
People dont exactly want's the same rule as in India neither in US where 1% of your population is in Jail and around 10% is considered as extra poor.
but you re right we should seriously wake up.

Laurent / Paris/France
Posted by llmm (2 comments )
Link Flag
France: Muslim Cultural Invasion OK Though
What kind of ninnies are the French? They are worried about a cultural invasion from Google, but it's perfectly OK to have a cultural invasion from Muslim countries. Yesirree if Google invades France there will be riots, nightly car burnings, store windows smashed, and molotov coctails flying from the arms of dissss-affff-eccccted youth.
Posted by maxwis (141 comments )
Reply Link Flag
HILARIOUS!!
Thank you for making News.com a better place to surf!
Posted by booboo1243 (328 comments )
Link Flag
They are worried...
They are very worried about the influx of muslim culture. We just don't hear about it as much as when they snub OUR culture.

Not being an anthropologist, I have no problem giving my opinion about various cultures and the French culture needs to change if it wants to survive. In short, they are generally not friendly to other cultures (for whatever reason) and in a time of increasing globalization this is going to cost them... dearly.
Posted by drfrost (467 comments )
Link Flag
Bad law
Dont worry,
Here in France (in the IT business) everybody think that the french parliament is making a mistake about apple.
This law hasn't been voted yet.
They should rather look at the OS business and consider if it is normal that one company own 95% of the market.
Infortunately they have discovered this kind of problem with the music industry and Apple is getting a bad point.
I dont think this law will be voted.

Laurent / Paris /France
Posted by llmm (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Monopoly?? I think not
A monopoly is when an enterprise attempts to stifle competition and persue market dominance through some unfair (or unequal) practice - usually by undercutting true market price or by regulatory manipulation. An example is government subsidies to Industries (China), reducing wages, (China, India, etc, or selling at a loss for a protracted period of time by using funds from other profitable enterprises. The assumption, in any case, is that the market was free and open for competition.

None of this is true about Apple. Apple invented the iPod, they created iTunes for the iPod. There are lots of other alternatives (I use a Zen). It is not Apples fault if millions of people want to use their stuff. Apple has responded by calling France's decision "state-sponsored piracy" and they are correct. When has it become a crime to be too successful because of your own inventivness and initiatives.
Posted by Short Circuit (6 comments )
Link Flag
A snooty, insulting Search Engine?
Fine, go ahead and make a rival to Google. Everyone in the world is free to do so. I can only imagine that the search engine would work this way...

Search for steak, the answer you get is...

"Why do you search for ze steak? You wouldn't know good steak if it bit you, you silly English pig dog. Go soak your bottom and go away or I will taunt you a second time!"
Posted by DatabaseDoctor (858 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Beat The French At Their Own Game
If the French want equal rules for every country, then let's let them have it.

Don't they have certain vintages of wines that have protected names that come from France.

They have sued wine makers in Napa Valley, California to not use those names because even though the Napa Valley wine is Superior to the crap the Frnch bottle and call wine, it is a protected name.

Now isn't the same true about certain cheeses.

In this case, anyone should be able to call their wine and cheese whatever they want so they can sell them on equal footing.
Posted by jhawk95 (38 comments )
Reply Link Flag
lol
The funny thing is that ive had a bottles of $9 dollar table wine that taste far better than 150 dollar french wine. I swear half the time with items like wine and cheese the mentality is "OMG its expensive, if I don't say it taste better I will seem unrefined".
Posted by Rolndubbs (194 comments )
Link Flag
Its ok to call Thinkpad
as an American products, going by anyone should be able to call their products whatever they want so they can sell them on equal footing.
Posted by pjianwei (206 comments )
Link Flag
Sick of Google club (MS, eBay, Yahoo, etc.).
The French have a lot of company.
Posted by Wiggletoe (24 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes, you are right on target
Problem is not just Google, it is the fact that few Giant US companies (Club/Mafia) are trying or controlling all sort of access to information. It is bad for the people worldwide, including American people. And there is really no competition between (MS, eBay, Yahoo, etc.), although publicly they act like they are competing, in reality they are part of the same Gang. To be exact and here is just one example: Mike Moritz of Sequoia capital provided financing to all these companies and at one time sat on board of all of them. Think about that!
Posted by Sandra_Kerns (25 comments )
Link Flag
Laissez-faire
What about "Laissez-faire" or as we, Americans call it, Free Market Economy? Why is French goverment interfering with free economy? You coined the term, for Peter's sake, follow through with it.
Posted by clk430 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Govt's are laissez-faire as long as they win
Much like us, the French support laissez-faire, pro-business policies until they think it works against them. Whether it's Google's online dominance, American agriculture's cheaper GM food imports, the fight over Airbus & Boeing subsidies, or even what constitutes "chocolate", government interference or legal tie-ups are the name of the game.
And in the last decade they decided that an EU could better compete against American economic dominance. That was the whole point. You would think that someone in the press would pick up on and report on that angle, n'est-pas?
They can't quite figure out how to be both a responsible socialist government and a first place capitalist competitor. Good luck with that.
Posted by Fly on the Wall (15 comments )
Link Flag
Govt's are laissez-faire as long as they win
Much like us, the French support laissez-faire, pro-business policies until they think it works against them. Whether it's Google's online dominance, American agriculture's cheaper GM food imports, the fight over Airbus & Boeing subsidies, or even what constitutes "chocolate", government interference or legal tie-ups are the name of the game.
And in the last decade they decided that an EU could better compete against American economic dominance. That was the whole point. You would think that someone in the press would pick up on and report on that angle, n'est-pas?
They can't quite figure out how to be both a responsible socialist government and a first place capitalist competitor. Good luck with that.
Posted by Fly on the Wall (15 comments )
Link Flag
Free Market economy is a myth
You think that the US is a free market?

Happily it is not. Businessmen are to greedy and corrupt to trust, which is why there are hundreds of thousands of pages of laws and regulations for businesses.
Posted by Bill Dautrive (1179 comments )
Link Flag
About time
The music industry loves to ***** about (and prosecute) "illegal" downloading, yet Apple's iTunes service is only available in a very small number of countries -- they don't make it very clear, but in very tiny print at the bottom of their site it lists 21 (out of over 200) countries their service is available in. Countries not served include most of Europe, all of South America, all of the Carribean, all of North America except the USA and Canada, all of Asia except Japan, and all of Africa. Kazaa, Limewire, etc. are availabe globally.

Governments need to step in and let Apple and the record companies know that that sort of customer cherry picking isn't acceptable, just as trying to restrict people to certain hardware isn't either.
Posted by t368504 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
anoox is another European/french based search engine effort
There is another European/french based search engine effort. That is various companies through Europe and elsewhere are grabbing the free open source Anoox search engine for offering
localized (country based) versions of Anoox search engine. You can read about it here:
<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.anoox.com/sep-overview.jsp" target="_newWindow">http://www.anoox.com/sep-overview.jsp</a>

Think about it, this is really cool: because this really is going to smash open the Yahoo &#38; Google (BIG US Media) monopoly over people's access to information. Because rather than 2 companies
in Silicon valley controlling what people see worldwide when they search for something, 100s and 1000s of companies worldwide from their own country will do this.
Hooray to Anoox :)
Hooray to open &#38; free information controlled by the people and not 1 or 2 Giant US media companies.
Posted by Sandra_Kerns (25 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Anoox is a scam.....
It is usually hyped by Cyrus Kirtchner, or one of his girl friends. I
hope you're not one of those.....
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
 

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