European Software Association - Yet another Microsoft lobbying frontend

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(updated) European Software Association is a lobbying body set up in late October 2005. It might be a response to unsuccessful lobbying carried out in the past by SAP and Microsoft related to extend the enforcability of certain patents in which Mircosoft currently invests huge resources and started to file at high rates at the EPO. The new body apparently stresses being European, despite Microsoft being a direct and unhidden member. Although the ESA claims to represent European Software companies, its membership mainly comprises European business partners and software vendors of its apparent US initiator Microsoft. According to an Euraktiv article the lobbying organisation was 'set up' by Jesús Villasante from the European Commission. ESA and BSA lobbyist Eilert Hanoa announced ESA 'aims to help Commissioner Reding and her colleagues examine initiatives from unexplored angles and offer recommendations and counsel'. Villasante is Head of Unit for Software Technologies under Commissioner Reding (DG Infosoc)

Other lobbying bodies used in the past were ACT, BSA, !CompTIA/"Initiative for Software Choice" and "Campaign For Creativity". ESA lobbyists very early denied to represent a puppet of Microsoft, which looks strange. Especially the French Government is targeted in the launch phase of the European Software Association campaign. Quote IHT 2005-10-19 (A press release was also sent out in French language):

It is worth to mention that Microsoft's EU lobbying infrastructure also includes TechCentralStation, a journo-lobbying body of the Washington DCI group which promotes hate speech against the French nation, its Government, muslim minority policy in France, muslims in general, all sorts of alleged 'socialists' and runs an ad hominem campaign against an independent US film maker etc. etc. TCS journo-lobbyist Sylvain Charat addressed France as a Little USSR

The same group also launched an weird and inappropriate opinion article against FFII "No to Info-Communism".

In rhetorics and style ESA is more likely to step in !CompTIA's footsteps with special emphasis on representing 'European' SME stakeholders. Earlier this summer Microsoft !CompTIA's spinoff C4C started a discussion process about their 'success' and the creation of new bodies.

European Software Association lobbyist Eilert Hanoa (also BSA Norway) wants to provide such intelligence to the Commissioners:

MS lobbyist Jonathan Zuck (ACT) explained earlier in an TechCentralStation Interview:

Website and Office in Brussels

Lobbying staff


The domain was registered by mamut.

ESA and BSA lobbyist Eilert Hanoa is CEO of Mamut, a Microsoft ISV.

Mamut & Microsoft gets 180k google hits. E.g. European Small Business Concierge Offering From Mamut and Microsoft "Mamut and Microsoft have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to extend their partnership alliance and jointly liaise with value-added resellers to deliver Small Business Concierge."

Quotes from the campaigners

One Campaigner

"One Lobbyist" according to International Herald Tribune.

Note: "Independent" Software Vendors are companies who sell software from a software manufacturer. Apparently Microsoft wants to use its European ISV as a lobbying astroturf campaign.

Roche (ESA)

Roche according to IDG

Note: Roche proactively responds to criticism.

Microsoft about their ESA campaign

Microsoft according to The Register

Note: A diplomatic description of Astroturfing.

Press release of the campaign: Greenhorns

Note: Reding might be considered a weak Commissioner but this Pr statement reveals inappropriate hubris. Probably these lobbyists misinterpret their role.

Roche in Euractiv

Source Euraktiv

Note: This is the new Microsoft strategy which blames lobbying failure to national market preferences. ESA is no credible body for achieving this goal, it is an astroturf. Intrestingly the article mentions others of those failed MS lobbying bodies. Further national rhetorics and software procurement strategies are a step back to market protection.

Note: Better access to venture capital' here means lobbying for software patenting.

Note: This needs to be questioned in EU-Parliament, because it exceeds the competence of Commission staff to set up lobbying associations.

Meanwhile, another association of software vendors has been launched in France: Afdel (Association française des éditeurs de logiciels). Of course Microsoft is included in its founding members. Afdel's spokesman is Jamel Labed, who was a former spokesman for BSA.

Whois record for, collected on Mad's Blog, shows very interesting informations: domain name was directly registered by Microsoft and technical contact is a lawyer working for a law film who has BSA as customer.

More info (in French)

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