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The ABC of digital business ecosystems

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The European Commission has the power to inspire, initiate and sponsor huge transnational projects to an extent impossible for most other entities. These projects can address universal themes and develop well-being models that are valuable across a diversity of societies and economies. It is a universal fact that SMEs in all countries provide a substantial proportion of total employment, and conduct much of a nation’s innovative activity. Yet these smaller companies struggle in global markets on a far from level playing field, where large companies have distinct advantages. To redress this imbalance the Commission saw it as a priority to improve the trading capability of the Small and Medium–sized Enterprises (SMEs), and perceived digital platforms as the modern means to this end. They considered that the best operational model for a vibrant Web2.0-based Internet services industry would be by analogy to well-performing biological ecosystems. Open Source Software is adopted in the DBE/OPAALS projects as the best support for sustainability of such complex electronic webs, since it minimises interoperability problems, enables code access for cheaper in-house modification or development of systems, and reduces both capital and operating expenditure.

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