January 15, 2010

France and the internet: Helicopters at the ready | The Economist

France and the internet: Helicopters at the ready | The Economist:

Socialism is alive and well in France much to the dismay of some entrepreneurs.

Propping up 'old' or unsuccessful businesses by government intervention and levying discriminatory taxes is so typical of France.

TeamObama's intervention in America's auto industry smacks of the same protectionism and a tilt toward the socialism that so many Americans find repugnant.

Drink American wine!

"...To experienced cyber-entrepreneurs, the government’s proposal for a new tax on internet firms is not surprising. “French governments always try to take money from young industries to sustain the old ones,” says Pierre Chappaz, chief executive of Wikio, a search engine for news and blogs, and a former co-head of Netvibes, a website that lets users personalise online content. A controversial new law which cuts off internet access for illegal downloaders demonstrates the established media’s lobbying power.

Although French entrepreneurs have started many successful young internet firms, most tend to be local rather than pan-European. One problem is that France’s high taxes on stock options makes hiring difficult. Partly for that reason, points out Mr Chappaz, many start-ups, including Netvibes, already have their headquarters outside France."
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