David versus Goliath, French (or European) solutions
When it comes to digital issues, there’s a discourse that’s hard to fight. It’s saying that there is no other choice but to choose American solutions… Why is it difficult to fight?
There are many reasons, some of which are technical, others strategic and still others based on financial power… Without denying, of course, the inherent quality of American solutions…
In my opinion, the first reason why American digital companies are dominant is that the US federal government has had a strategic vision of the benefits of digital technology. They decided very early on that digital technology would be a new territory of conquest and influence.
This vision has led to the creation of innovative companies in this field, which, supported by federal and military public orders, have become giants, making it easier for them to conquer foreign markets. Coupled with a sharpened sense of economic warfare, the adoption of ultra-liberal and deregulatory rules makes it easy for these players to establish themselves on European territory, forgetting that the original aim of the common market was to protect the European economy and industry.
Another no less important component is that their domestic market has often enabled them to build up a solid cash position, enabling them to attack foreign markets at lower cost and thus consolidate their dominant position. They use this money for various lobbying operations, which in my view are akin to legalized corruption. The latest to come to my attention was Google’s organization of an afterwork on Artificial Intelligence for the parliamentary assistants of our Members of Parliament… Is this really reasonable?
But we mustn’t overlook the fact that they have often managed to pass themselves off as an indispensable commodity, and often free themselves from the rules that apply to any business in the physical world. In the digital world, anything is possible: not paying taxes in the territory in which you do business, or selling at a loss to ensure that you train future prescribers (free licenses for schools, certification training, etc.).
Enough about our American “friends”! Even though I often hear that there are no serious alternatives, I’m going to try and list a few for you (mostly French, but also a few European…), focusing here more on private use, and on the most common branches! This list is not exhaustive, and I encourage you to do your own research! I don’t distinguish between “Open Source” and “private” solutions, because each, depending on our level of requirements and skills, can find its own way to replace American solutions that don’t respect our data and can be used against our interests.…
For businesses, there are also many French solutions, given the richness of our ecosystem. Through our Rendez-vous du numérique, we do our utmost to highlight these French digital players and their companies!
For our private use, here are a few suggestions:
Secure instant messaging :
Wellbeing/ Health : Withings
OS Smartphone without Google tackers : Murena
French Smartphone : Crosscall
When French solutions don’t exist, you can turn to open-source solutions, and no, this isn’t just for geeks!
Alternative to major OS (Apple/Microsoft) : Linux
Alternative to MS-Office : LibreOffice
These are just a few examples. The French ecosystem is rich and many entrepreneurs are offering us great applications. We can choose these applications, without necessarily excluding American ones, but this also allows us to reduce our risk surface and find, for example, social networks such as Smartrezo and Qwice that are in line with our cultural values and that respect our personal data, which is pretty good! I’ve also switched to Murena and still enjoy all my applications, but with greater security for my personal data! For e-mail, I use protonmail and mailo, and for secure instant messaging, I use Olvid, which I’ve been using since the very beginning!
The important thing to remember is that there are alternatives to American solutions, whether “private” or “open source”, and you don’t have to be a geek to use them.
By choosing these solutions, you’re not only protecting your private data, you’re also distancing yourself from the American way of thinking and, above all, acting responsibly by helping to maintain and grow jobs in France! Yes, digital sovereignty also embodies CSR values!