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The boss of Microsoft leaves his checkbook in France

The boss of Microsoft leaves his checkbook in France

Satya Nadella meets François Hollande on Monday to announce an investment of 83 million euros in start-ups and a partnership with the national education.


Rendez you to the summit, Monday, November 9, at the Elysee. François Hollande receives Satya Nadella during a face-to-face meeting. For his first meeting with the French head of state, the boss of Microsoft has brought in his wallet 83 million euros of investment. The world’s largest software company is going to kick off a new aid program for start-up of the “French Tech.” In partnership with a dozen accelerators in France , these start-up nests among which Numa, in Paris , or Euratechnologies, in Lille, Microsoft will provide cloud services to cloud computing – cloud computing – and big data tools. The first year, 300 start-ups should benefit . Amount of the investment: 70 million euros. The software giant will also spend a partnership of 13 million euros with the national education to help the deployment of digital at school. At the study, the use of the game Minecraft for learning code.

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If the big bosses are used to visit the tenant of the Elysee, whatever its political color , the trend has accelerated under the term of François Hollande, and checks have multiplied. This year, the head of state has received the boss of SAP software publisher, Bill McDermott, and twice the boss of Cisco, John Chambers. The first promised to invest 100 million euros in French start-ups, the second 200 million. In parallel, Facebook , Intel , Samsungand Salesforce have opened new research centers in Paris. Announcements that the Minister of Economy, Emmanuel Macron, who attended several inaugurations, was pleased. At Microsoft, we try to stand out , recalling that the software publisher, over a decade, has helped 1,500 start-ups, including Criteo, and created 7,000 jobs in France.

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How to explain this sudden craze? “There is a world war for talent, we tear the developers. We enjoy the couple training in engineering school and research tax credit. It’s very attractive, “ Analysis Guy Mamou-Mani, President of Syntec Numérique, the union company s IT services. ” For the most part, American companies have realized that digital technology can not exempt them from adopting highly localized strategies and long-term investments. The Europe is neither a country nor a single market … “ said Loïc Rivière, general delegate of Afdel, which defends the software companies.

Delicate regulatory context

But, if these giants invest, it is hoping to navigate . First, they take limited risks. The center French R & D Facebook only employs 25 engineers, and that Samsung should count ten people at year end. Then they have everything to gain by buying startups, in which they will find a technology they lack. Adobe did not need to meet François Hollande to get his hands on the French Neolane for 600 million euros.

Often these giants make their investments one of the levers to solve the problems they encounter. In delicacy with the press, Google has launched a fund of 60 million euros for him. Received with great fanfare at the Elysée, Cisco, which counts among its customers the State and the Ministry of Defense , comes back. A few years ago, the company, which sells telecom equipment, was persona non grata within the National Agency for Information Systems Security, which has a voice in the equipment used by the company. State. By dint of having shown white paw, the American giant, recently shaken by the case Snowden, is now frequentable.

The upsurge in investments is part of an increasingly delicate regulatory environment . At national level, the draft law supported by the Secretary of State to digital, Axelle Lemaire, has anti-American giants measures such as regulation of platforms and data portability, facilitating retrieval by users. This line does not reach consensus within the government. Emmanuel Macron also promotes measures designed to increase the attractiveness of France and attract foreign capital. In supporting him, the American giants hope that the Minister of Economy will win against his secretary of state.

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“The forces are dissymmetrical”

Meanwhile, many observers have noted that the final version of this text, presented Friday after public consultation, had retained any of the provisions voted by Internet users in favor of free software. Measures that would have disadvantaged Microsoft two days of the visit of Satya Nadella in Paris. Without seeing a link of cause and effect, Frédéric Couchet, General Delegate of April, an association for the defense of free software , is sorry. “The forces are dissymmetrical. It’s been ten years since I proposed a meeting with Richard Stallman [the initiator of the free software movement] , to no avail. It sure he does not arrive with his checkbook. “

But the biggest challenge is within the European Commission, which is trying to create a digital single market. France has joined forces with Germany to defend a number of measures, such as the regulation of platforms or a European cloud label, favoring local businesses at the expense of non-European groups. By betting especially on France, foreign groups want to change the situation.

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