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Sporkman
March 11th, 2008, 06:23 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080311/ap_on_hi_te/eu_france_internet_search_2


France cleared to fund search project

29 minutes ago

BRUSSELS, Belgium - France won EU approval Tuesday to give $152 million to several companies hoping to build a European rival to U.S. search giant Google Inc.

The potential benefits of allowing France to fund technology group Thomson SA and 22 other companies working on the QUAERO multimedia search project in Europe outweigh any gain Thomson would win over rivals, the European Commission said.

QUAERO Latin for "I search" would develop technology for working with all platforms, including desktops, mobile devices and televisions. Its products would be sold to TV companies, filmmakers, post-production facilities and anyone who creates or uses audiovisual content.

Just under half the funding for the five-year, $306 million project will come from the French government.

The EU executive said the cash infusion aids an effort that might not otherwise win financial support because the companies have divergent interests and their chances of success were uncertain.

Thomson hopes the research will help it offer better Internet protocol distribution technology to deliver television programs or films online.

EU rules forbid governments granting money to companies if that would give them an unfair advantage over competitors.

The commission said the grant would not give Thomson market power because rivals will likely keep up their investment in research and development. It cleared the German government to give $165 million to the German arm of the project, called THESEUS.

That money will fund "icebreaker" companies Siemens AG, SAP AG, Deutsche Thomson oHG and EMPOLIS GmbH, owned by Bertelsmann AG to kick start research. The aid will later spread to smaller firms.

Fragmentation of European research is a key reason cited for the region lagging behind the United States in information technology development.

uberlube
March 11th, 2008, 06:25 PM
Go France.