France and Germany want to compete locally with Google and Yahoo which makes sense. Setting aside hype about web 2.x, internet bubbles, etc. I think that we can agree that the future prosperity of any country depends strongly on home-grown technology, a great educational system, and a (relatively) honest government to promote commerce and free trade with fair laws that balance public and business interests. (Huge and economically inefficient military superpowers are so 19th and 20th century. I hope that economic superpowers will be our future: economic efficiency making militaristic inefficiency irrelevant. Economic superpowers do not, by my definition, necessarily have to be large countries or corporations: I am talking about the efficiency and wealth generated per person.)
Every time I hear about a country starting a national program adopting Open Source, I also think that they are doing the right thing for long term economic and technical power. Really, what country should depend strongly on proprietary software written and owned by a company in a foreign country? I expect to see hardware and network costs go down (both better power efficiency and purchase price) and software to become a commodity – but software services as a business will grow. The only thing that I see as a possible problem for my rather optimistic outlook on the IT industry is last ditch efforts by a few corporations and corrupt governments to enforce a general lack of social and business freedom through DRM and hardware devices that might keep businesses and organizations from getting maximum economic utility from the computer equipment that they own.
I believe that countries that do not honestly promote business and free enterprise while protecting public interests will simply be “routed around” (in the internet sense and will fall by the economic roadside.