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Progressive requirements for Servers & Storage systems set by the EU

Driven to reach Sustainability and Circular economy goals, Europe wants to lead the change. The EU Ecodesign Directive is one of the EU tools; aimed at setting mandatory minimum requirements for individual product groups. For new Servers and Storage, ENTR Lot 9, this has now been published and will become effectively in March 2020. Free ICT Europe participated in this process.

Policy changing elements have been added to stimulate Repair/maintenance, reuse/resell and recycling and to increase the life-cycle of systems. These new measures come on top of a barrier for max. energy consumption, which has historically been the primary objective of the Ecodesign Directive.

The EU sets the direction by addressing a few new elements, part of the so called Material Aspects:
• (2020) Manufacturers shall ensure that joining, fastening or sealing techniques do not prevent the disassembly for repair or reuse purposes of the key components.
• (2020) A functionality for secure data deletion shall be made available for the deletion of data contained in all data storage devices of the product.
• (2021) The latest available version of the firmware shall be made available from two years after the placing on the market for a minimum period of eight years after the placing on the market of the last product of a certain product model, free of charge or at a fair, transparent and non-discriminatory cost. The latest available security update to the firmware shall be made available from the time a product model is placed on the market until at least eight years after the placing on the market of the last product of a certain product model, free of charge.
• (2020) As part of free accessible product information; instructions on the disassembly operations, including type of fastenings and tools required. Also Information about some materials used (Cobalt, Neodymium) at component level should be provided as input to recyclers.
• The first review is moved forward: already starting in 2021, a draft ready in March 2022.

A large discussion took place about the energy requirements, as the initial setup focussed solely on Idle state power consumption and would have led that only 25% of the current new systems would comply. The final requirements now involve also the active state power consumption as well.

“We see this legislation as a step in the right direction and are proud that the European Commission made the decision to address new elements in legislation that will give more freedom to end-users and will have a positive effect on the businesses that provide repair, maintenance and ICT resellers.”

A step forward, though room for improvement
A number of missed opportunities can be addresses though. Firstly, the scope of the directive; at first it would include Networking Equipment, next to that the systems are only mainstream: the whole setup is a puzzle, though roughly said Servers up to 4 CPU sockets and Storage up to max capacity of 400 disks. We pledge to extend this at least to apply the material aspects to all. Good news is that this discussion is already planned for the review.

Severe discussion took place about firmware updates. Free ICT sees this primarily as fixes that are required for the system to operate as it should, therefor should be free of charge.

The directive does not include a number of topics that are important for reuse and repair/maintenance: access to full diagnostics, clear rules for license transfer, no statement addressing the import restrictions of Used systems (no open Circular Economy), maintenance reinstatement fees, spare parts availability in a timely manner, license programs and a compatibility grid to stimulate upgrading. Still work to do for the review!
Next to Servers & Storage, the new Ecodesign package will improve five other products: lighting, fridges, TV screens, dishwashers and washing machines.

“An interesting development that also can be seen here is that Resource Efficiency is becoming probably the most important element. How are products designed, made repairable and upgradeable to last longer will surpass energy consumption?”

What is next for Ecodesign?
The Lot 3, PC/Laptop/Tablet review will be (re-)started. A product group for Smartphones is planned; a strong call has been made by parliament to start with this. Next to Free ICT Europe, also several organisation and countries asked for a product group for Networking Equipment.

When you are interested in the work done by FIE, want to join the alliance or stay up to date, please visit our website (to be renewed soon).

No power without data. One of the most important surveys for the future of your business

The Free ICT Europe Foundation is lobbying the European Commission and the European Parliament. An expert assessment of the market and its current issues is necessary to inform the view of policymakers in Brussels.

Deloitte Economic Advisory has been asked to accompany Free ICT Europe in providing a plan and a report for an economic assessment of the impact of the identified OEM practices. Receiving data and information from the market is essential for this.

In this regard, a questionnaire concerning the ICT aftermarket has been set up. Your responses to the questionnaire are key to perform the study and to present convincing arguments on the value and importance of the secondary IT market in Europe.

When you are active in this market and did not receive an invitation and the link to this questionnaire, please reach out to us at

The scope and quality of the final report depends to a large extent on inputs and data provided. As public data on the importance of the secondary IT market in Europe is not available, your input is key!

Deloitte Economic Advisory will be responsible for collecting and analyzing the data for the purpose of preparing a report on the secondary Free ICT market. Data will not be disclosed neither to Free ICT Europe, nor any Free ICT member or third party. It will be collected solely for the purpose of writing the report. Data will only be presented at an aggregated level and deleted afterwards.

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


Mr. Arthur van der Wees | Arthur’s Legal B.V.

Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI)

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.





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


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.


Round Table Barriers for Maintenance, Brussels – September 22

Free ICT Europe invite you to participate in an industry round table with Daniel Dalton, MEP  in the morning of 22 September 2015 at Hume Brophy, Rue de la Science 41, Brussels 1040, Belgium

Removing Barriers to Third Party Support and Maintenance

Users of ICT systems find themselves in an unenviable position of having invested significantly in ICT systems and software but lacking the full ownership rights that should accompany that ownership.

Restrictive practices, such as the use of intellectual property rights by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) to limit choices and the deliberately complicated software contract/licensing rules set by software publishers, limits the freedom of businesses and consumers alike to choose their providers of product, and of support and maintenance services, resulting in higher costs for European businesses.

In order to address current barriers, and facilitate a strong secondary market for ICT, it is crucial that legislators are made aware of the restrictive practices that are inhibiting the development of an open and sustainable secondary market. These practices range from fees for secondary market products sourced through OEM channels, to retrospective licensing of firmware, all of which, are equally damaging in impact.

It is of the utmost urgency that stakeholders join together to promote common standards for the reuse and resale of equipment and software as the repercussions of allowing the status quo to continue unchallenged, are likely to prove detrimental for European businesses and the European economy as a whole.

Free ICT Europe believes in a competitive secondary ICT market that supports European businesses and increases competitiveness. As drivers of ICT efficiency, independent outsource companies have a lot to gain from ensuring that there is a vibrant and successful secondary market for ICT products and services.

Free ICT Europe are bringing together stakeholders for an industry round table discussion with Daniel Dalton MEP from the Internal Market and Consumer Affairs Committee (IMCO) of the European Parliament to facilitate an exchange of views and raise industry concerns directly.

As a leading participant in this industry we would like to extend to you the opportunity to participate in this industry roundtable and communicate your concerns directly with our guest, Daniel Dalton MEP.

Who should attend:
This invite-only event is of particular interest to outsourcers, providers of third party support and maintenance services, and professions in the IT sector who are interested in open, competitive, markets to support growth in our industry.

The event shall be held at the offices of Hume Brophy, located in the heart of Brussels at 41 Rue de la Science, Bruxelles 1040, Belgium.

To confirm your participation please email:

MEP –Daniel Dalton: Daniel Dalton is a UK MEP from the European Conservatives and Reformists Group.

A first time MEP he has established himself as a hard working and proactive member of the Internal Market with a particular interest in the ICT and information sectors.

08:15 – Welcome and breakfast
08:30 – The case for an ICT Secondary market
Free ICT Europe will explain why European companies stand to benefit from the support and development of a truly competitive secondary market for ICT support and maintenance.

08:50 – Parliament perspective. Daniel Dalton MEP
Daniel Dalton MEP will provide participants with his perspective as an MEP and member of the Internal Market Committee of the European Parliament, how politicians can support this campaign.

09:15 – Roundtable discussion.
Participants will have an opportunity to raise points of concern and discuss possible ways forward to support a competitive secondary market.

09:45 – 11:00 – Open industry forum

Participants will have an opportunity to discuss the specifics of their concerns and raise solutions to be considered by Free ICT Europe.

All participants will receive a summary report on the topics of discussion and issues raised at the roundtable.

To confirm your participation please email:

Independent Industry Alliance Launches to Champion Secondary IT Market in Europe

Free ICT Europe (FIE) established to support industry expected to be worth €90bn, providing an additional 100,000 European jobs by 2017


A group of independent European IT services operators have announced the formation of an international alliance, established in order to champion the growth of the secondary IT market in Europe and to raise awareness of common industry issues. Free ICT Europe (FIE) represents members of the IT aftermarket. It aims to secure the right of ownership and the freedom for consumers and businesses alike to freely choose their sales, maintenance and repair providers.


The ICT secondary market is a critical source of value for European SMEs, multinational companies and publicly owned entities. Ensuring access to locally sourced ICT services and products enable organisations to extend the life and improve the service to ICT assets while realising better value. More than €10bn is saved each year by organisations operating in Europe as a result of the value and competition delivered by local European companies.


FIE works to address the restrictive and unfair practices undertaken by Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), that prevent customers from having the freedom to support, repair and resell IT equipment and software.


Mainly composed of independent SMEs and representing over 50,000 European jobs in a market worth €30bn, the secondary IT market is characterized by a highly skilled European based workforce, serving local businesses. With the emergence of a software secondary market, the potential growth of this sector is expected to be worth €90bn and an additional 100,000 European jobs by 2017.


Christina Van Oostrum, President of Free ICT Europe commented, “FIE was formed in light of the challenges faced by our customers, and we are proud to provide a united voice for the industry to address the uncompetitive activities of OEMs. Their opaque practices lead to significant economic, social and environmental consequences for customers and Europe as a whole.”


“Above all, we want to ensure the provision of a local, reliable service to customers that represents value for money. FIE will work to safeguard the existence of the valuable European ICT secondary market by championing transparency, consumer rights, and the freedom of choice to support, repair and resell.”