Software group to tackle EU

A pan-European software association plans to tackle the European Union on
issues that will affect the way it puts together business applications, its
first chairman has claimed.

Jeremy Roche, CEO of Coda and inaugural chairman of the European Software
Association, which launched last week, said the new body would seek to engage EU
policy makers on initiatives and legislation in an attempt to provide better
software that meets the needs of European businesses.

‘The key is to make the software industry stronger in Europe, with stronger
vendors serving European needs,’ said Roche.

‘We need a clear understanding of coming legislation that vendors will have
to deal with, whether it be on an issue like European VAT harmonisation, for
example. What effect would that have on us and users?’

The association, based in Brussels, has aimed to become the principal
interface for the European software industry with the European Union, general
public and to operate as a centre of best practice across the business

Roche has been joined by Eilert Hanoa, CEO of accounting and business
software provider Mamut, as vice chairman.

So far 26 software vendors have signed up to the scheme, ranging from the
smallest to the largest providers, including Business Objects, Microsoft, SAP,
LogicaCMG and Coda.

Roche denied that the association would impinge on the work carried out by
longstanding UK-based lobby group, the Business Application Software Developers’
Association, headed by Dennis Keeling.

‘We have no intentions of competing with local associations,’ explained
Roche.‘What we’re doing differently is targeting EU-down, with local groups
going local-up.’

He expected to ‘work constructively’ with BASDA in the future, and pointed
out that Coda was still a member of that association.

ESA members have already met with senior members of the EC, who endorsed the
move. The launch was addressed by Jesus Villasante, head of the EC’s software
technology unit.

ESA was borne out of meetings between software vendor CEOs last year when
addressing software industry issues. It has already highlighted EU policy areas
that affect the software industry, including interoperability of systems,
increased online security and taking appropriate action against software piracy.

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