Podcast: Ecodesign Servers & Storage includes also repair, resale and firmware

Ecodesign provides EU-wide rules for improving the environmental performance of products, both business as consumer. This directive sets requirements for new equipment. Beyond energy consumption restrictions, it will also contain elements to stimulate independent repair, resale and other Circular elements.

EU policy officer Davide Polverini informs you about:

· Developments in Circular Economy and Sustainability
· Ecodesign opening the market for Independent service providers
· Data deletion tool requirement: preventing destruction of disks
· Firmware availability requirement
· Ecodesign stimulating refurbishment, reuse and resale
· Ecodesign as a tool to extend product life cycle

FIE presents: Podcast IoT and the right to repair when human life is at stake

FIE welcomes you to listen to our first Podcast.

In this episode Martin Thompson from Free ICT Europe speaks with mr. Arthur van der Wees of Arthur’s Legal on the challenges of developing free and competitive markets around the Internet of Things.

Discussion topics

  • Introduction of Arthur, background, his firm and activities
  • Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI)
  • IoT developments for Enterprises
  • IoT and Serviceability / ability to update / upgrade / sustainability
  • Lifecycle of device data
  • The interdisciplinary approach to IOT innovation
  • Market adoption of IOT devices to improve industries and stimulus culture
  • Standards

Links:

Mr. Arthur van der Wees | Arthur’s Legal B.V.
linkedin.com/in/arthur-van-der-wees-b85429
www.arthurslegal.com/

Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI)
www.aioti.eu/

WannaCry ? Time has come so dry your tears and act!

The unprecedented ransomware attack that started on 12th May was wholly predictable and a wakeup up call of reality to a sleepwalking world.

Everyone seems to have a view on the attack with traditional media and social media being red hot with comments and finger pointing; according to Microsoft it’s all the fault of the NSA . In today’s world this is to be expected but it is only through serious investigation that the truth will be uncovered and this is the role of the authorities, supported by experts. We can all only hope they succeed in their endeavours.

We must resist the temptation of naivety. Our industry is renowned for its ability in providing innovation and making possible today what was only a dream yesterday but that ability brings with it the paradox that has been with us since the first computer was designed; the products which are launched on the market, either hardware of software, are vulnerable. No manufacturer of IT products can pretend their systems are without a hole or a door that ill-intentioned and very determined individuals or organisations can enter to either steal our identities, to spy on our private lives or to kill our businesses. It is a very reasonable paranoia to declare that WannaCry is just a taste of our future and a clarion call of what is to come.

There are many on-going debates around the world with purpose of setting up rules, providing guidance and introducing policies to deal with the threat so we can be prepared. For example in the US one debate is clearly described in a report under the title “Law Enforcement Using and Disclosing Technology Vulnerabilities” . The questions raised in this report can be condensed as, should we make public a vulnerability to which there is no associated fix and how should we organize and reward the community of “good guys” that detect the vulnerabilities and fix them before hackers exploit them? Those who read the report will be disturbed to discover that security agencies are playing on 2 boards of the same game by exploiting for their own needs the vulnerabilities. This is the real world we are living in and we will not change it by simply trying to wish it away. We have to face the facts and be cognisant of reality.

Contained within the report is a detail which is of most interest for our secondary market industry. On Page 2 is a short but clear definition in a grey box under the title Relevant Terms. Vulnerability is defined as “a security hole or weakness in hardware, software, or firmware that can leave it open to becoming compromised.” Previous attempts at defining vulnerabilities have never been as clear. Reviewing the “Common and Vulnerabilities Exposures” (CVE) web site we can read : “A “vulnerability” is a weakness in the computational logic (eg. code) found in software and some hardware components (eg. firmware)…”. We are glad that the definition provided in the report takes us one step further than the CVE definition with the clear distinction between hardware, firmware and software being independently potential sources of vulnerability that require discreet fixes. This definition reflects the point of view of Free ICT Europe despite the many debates and attempts by OEMs and Software Companies to make it confusing.
For our precious secondary market to move forward and be a part of a secure future the lessons to be learned are easy to summarise:
– Firmware & Software updates that fix vulnerabilities should be applied on a regular routine basis and in emergency when an attack in imminent or in progress
– If it is a customer responsibility to keep their infrastructure up to date and protect them with all technological means, independent services providers should advise customers of serious threats which are in the scope of the commitments of their services agreements
– OEMs and Software Companies should make available without charge, unfettered and in an expeditious way all vulnerability fixes, without the precondition of a service agreement and allow independent providers to act on the behalf of their customers

The last point in the list is one of the main positions we defend at Free ICT Europe. We have tirelessly campaigned to raise the awareness of the stakeholders and are heavily involved in the legislative agenda of the European Commission.
In discussions with the new initiative of Directive for Ecodesign , we have successfully introduced the obligation on an OEM to provide firmware updates in to their project. This is just a first step but we will not giving anything away.
To enable us to reach the goals that will benefit us all your support is more than precious and we are thankful for your contributions. The very future of our industry is in our collective hands.
Don’t give up, be part of the solution and join us. We need you, you need us, we all need each other.

(1)] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WannaCry_ransomware_attack

(2) https://blogs.microsoft.com/on-the-issues/2017/05/14/need-urgent-collective-action-keep-people-safe-online-lessons-last-weeks-cyberattack/#sm.0000b0jp3ebltdsdrs71bju2qbfb1

(3) https://www.hsdl.org/?abstract&did=800768

(4) https://cve.mitre.org/about/terminology.html

FIE Meeting, June 22 – Dublin

As the EU recognised us as the official representative of the ICT Aftermarket, it is our responsibility to connect with the organisations which voice we are. To share information, concerns and experiences we see personal meetings as very valuable and prefer a smaller and confidential setting.

We are pleased to invite you for our upcoming Free ICT Europe Foundation meeting: June 22nd – Dublin, Ireland

The meeting will be hosted by Origina Ltd., their office is at a 30 min drive from Dublin Airport. The meeting will start at 13.00pm

Why?

Your questions might be: What is happening in your Marketplace? What will be the impact on your business and strategy?

The foundation started based on concerns and the will to do something. We moved from creation awareness to actually becoming a part of changes in legislation. To move on, we need input and support.

This is no commercial gathering. Free ICT Europe unites, though takes no part in commercial partnerships and/or deals.

For Who?

We invite directors and management to join for this meeting. When you want to be accompanied with your Legal advisor, this is possible.

Though we see that our efforts are appreciated by end-users, we do not invite them for this meeting.

Confirm your attendence!

You can register by contacting us by e-mail or the contact form. No costs involved for the meeting: we are a guest of Origina, for the dinner we ask all to pay for themselves.

Out suggesting for the hotel is: The Beacon Hotel, 4 stars, distance 700m. We gladly support with the hotel reservation using our special rate(until May 19th).

Looking forward to speak to you in Dublin.

 

EU inaction would costs taxpayers €1bn+& hands it straight to US multinational

The EU made a Decision in 2011 to break the monopoly of IBM on the secondary market of maintenance and support of IBM mainframes. During the last five years mainframe users who chose Independent Service Providers (ISP) as an alternative to IBM, have reaped the benefit of millions of euro in costs savings as is to be expected in a fair, open and competitive landscape.

This Decision expired on December 14th 2016 when, in accordance with the spirit of competition rules it was expected that all the stakeholders involved would  come to a gentleman’s agreement to renew it on equitable terms. If the regulatory authorities cannot make a difference in applying Article 101 & 102 of the “Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union” (TFUE) this case shows its limitations in the real world.

ISPs need a long term “(main)frame of regulation” to protect their investments, their skills and their customers. Customers need to be sure ISPs will be able to comply with their needs. Customers need the certainty there is an authority that is strong enough to guarantee the balance between IBM and ISPs and, in case of any infringement, an authority that has the power to impose penalties.

It is illusory to believe that a multinational such as IBM would act in compliance with a Decision that is expired. It is  more realistic to consider that IBM would impose, without any negotiation, unilateral Terms and Conditions that dramatically reduces the level of the obligations IBM was forced to accept. The reality is that IBM is now ready and prepared to engage in a fast winback of the market share of the ISPs on the secondary market of services.

As a result the cost to Europe will be in excess of €250m.per year through higher maintenance and support costs with potentially up to €1bn in additional capital costs as the US giant, International Business Machines Corp (IBM), takes back total control of the mainframe hardware market in Europe.

Who will pay? Well of course it will be the European taxpayers and consumers of the large European organisations such as banks, insurance companies and financial institutions that still invest in this reliable technology that is critical to their businesses.

Don’t sleep at the wheel !

Having been alerted by the ISPs and then on its own initiative, the EU took bold step in dealing with the discriminatory behaviour toward competing suppliers of mainframe maintenance and support services. In 2016 the EU has to investigate again as, to not do so they will be handing back to IBM complete control of this lucrative market.

Despite the efforts of many European bodies and organisations to warn the EU of the potential costs of not renewing this arrangement, the Decision has not been renewed.

Nevertheless, the EU has received many requests from ISPs to re-open the case in order to renew the Decision. There is no doubt that any upcoming investigation will demonstrate IBM will again be in a monopoly without the Decision, and will come to the same conclusion it did in 2011.

Free ICT Europe is calling on the EU to make this a priority.

Jobs

The inevitable impact of this on the European IT services providers who operate in this sector are job losses. Of even greater significance will be the inevitable job losses from the organisations that use mainframes as they struggle with higher costs and the need to reduce their IT budgets. People are always the first thing to go in times of austerity.

For more information email to: contact@free-ict-europe.eu or call +(31) 30 698 2698

IBM EU Commitments

Five years ago the Directorate General of Competition of the European Union made a Decision related to the maintenance and the support of the IBM Mainframes. It was the result of a complaint filed 2 years before. This Decision could be compared to an earthquake as it was the first time in Europe a big IT player was forced to provide TPM’s with necessary inputs to compete on the secondary market of services. It was as well the first time a Decision article 9 was taken against an US company in favor of independent European companies. IBM was force to provide Commitments and the European Commission made them binding with a 10% penalty on the worldwide turnover in case of infringement or circumvention. This was in 2011.

Since we know how most of OEMs have been arguing about Intellectual Property in order to first withdraw the rights of customers to access bugs fixes for free and then foreclose the secondary market of services for the TPMs.

It is worth to notice that IBM was preparing its policy change (microcode update access restrictions) for Power Servers and Storage Solutions while in the meantime the company was forced to commit on making them accessible at reasonable terms and conditions microcode updates, spare parts and configuration records for mainframes.

The EU Decision will end December 14, 2016 and the subsequent contract some TPM signed (aka “TPM Agreement”) will expire at the same date. We bet the terms and conditions of the new TPM Agreement proposed by IBM will be reviewed to their lowest level while not being under the control of a Decision.

Also when you are not dealing in Mainframe products or services, this has still impact; the domination of IBM will increase their position in other segments and deeply inspire other OEMs and Software companies.

So doing nothing is absolutely no option. To get the required attention FIE supports a new complaint that has been filed to request the Commission to renew their Decision.

Update on Resale of Software

Since 2012 Reselling Software has been started by a number of brokers. Though little has been done to reassure owners of surplus software licenses and shelfware that, yes, indeed, licenses can be marketed and sold on. The European Court has restated the legality of the resale of software in Europe in its latest judgment: even where the license agreements signed up to by the licensee declared that the software was non-assignable and only for that particular licensee’s internal business purposes. But the court confirmed that the principle does not extend to software transferred on back-up discs.

Software vendors do not have not been very active in mentioning the resale option to customers. On the other side they cannot be too dismissive: they are constrained by competition (anti-trust) laws in seeking to inhibit the market in indirect ways. This can include discriminating against their customers, refusing support or seeking higher prices from those using pre-owned software. The jeopardy for them is a finding of abuse, damages and fines of up to 10% of their group’s global turnover.

An interesting perspective on support for secondary software being a potential growth market: Support costs on software generally exceed, over time, the initial license fees paid. This means that, if there were a new user of redundant software, there is the possibility of extending the vendor’s customer base and increasing, rather than damaging, its income.

Link to full article by Robin fry

Recycling is not a cure

“Reduce, Re-use, Recycle” are set as the Waste Hierarchy..

Yes recycle the things you can recycle. BUT instead of seeing recycling as ‘job done’ and feeling like we’ve done our bit to save the planet, we should all be looking a little bit deeper than that.

We should be looking to Refuse, Reduce and Re-use before we Recycle:

  • Refusing to buy the things we don’t need – being more thoughtful and deliberate about the (new) things we buy.
  • Reducing our demand for (new) things – do we really need to upgrade?
  • Re-using the things we already have: Including Repair, so it’s also about fixing, maintaining and cherishing the things we already have.

Link to article: Why I Think We Should All Recycle LESS For Recycle Week

 

How US and EU Courts & regulators developed their thinking on aftermarket issues

Aftermarkets are particularly important in the market of technical equipment. The downstream market for maintenance and support of both hardware and software is profitable and particularly coveted by OEM’s, often as a means to recoup their investments in research and development. In many cases these markets are contested by independent service organisations (“ISOs”), which frequently come into conflict with the manufacturers.

Read the full article that gives an interesting overview

Have you explored the secondary software market?

By Martin Thompson

Has your organization explored the secondary software market? Buying and selling used software can free up much needed IT budgets and reduce compliance and audit headaches.

Software is an asset and should be treated and managed as such, like other business assets (in certain conditions).

Click the link below for access to a comprehensive whitepaper on the risks and opportunities with secondary software.

The paper has been compiled by CIGREF, a network for large companies in France and SOFTCORNER, a marketplace for secondary software and FIE supporter.

Thank you to CIGREF and SOFTCORNER for sharing their paper.

http://www.cigref.fr/the-secondary-software-market-risks-and-opportunities-for-large-companies

More about CIGREF and SOFTCORNER:
www.cigref.fr
www.softcorner.eu