The French Minister of National Education and Youth said that the free versions of Microsoft Office 365 and Google Workspace should not are used in schools – a position that reflects ongoing European concerns about cloud data dominance, competition and privacy rules.
In August, Philippe Latombe, a member of the French National Assembly, advised Pap Ndiaye, Minister of National Education, that the free version of Microsoft Office 365, while attractive, amounts to a form of illegal dumping (in the sense of unfair competition). He asked the education secretary what he plans to do about data sovereignty issues related to the storage of personal data in an American cloud service.
Last week, the Ministry of National Education published a written response to confirm that French public contracts require payment.
"Therefore, free offers of services are, in principle, excluded from the scope of public procurement," the ministry's statement said, and Minister Ndiaye is said to have confirmed this position.
This also applies to other free offerings such as Google Workspace for Education.
Paid versions of these cloud services might have been an option if they hadn't already been rejected due to data security concerns.