* Co-CEO says IT equivalent of Airbus doesn't make sense
* Alliance would hamper competition, innovation and growth
* Industry needs international standards for data protection
FRANKFURT, Nov 27 Germany's biggest tech
company, SAP, has rejected calls by domestic
politicians for European IT firms to band together to better
compete against U.S. tech groups in the wake of spying
Some German politicians have suggested an IT industry
equivalent to European jetmaker Airbus following allegations
about U.S. spying on Europeans, including the monitoring of
German Chancellor Angela Merkel's mobile phone.
"A merger between some European IT companies with the aim of
drawing a line between them and the rest of the global market,
does not make any sense," SAP co-Chief Executive Jim Hagemann
Snabe said on Wednesday, in an e-mailed response to questions
"Such an endeavour would be doomed to fail from the outset,"
he said, adding it would lead to less competition, less
innovation and less growth in a globally-focused sector.
Government snooping is a sensitive subject in Germany, which
has among the strictest privacy laws in the world, since it
dredges up memories of eavesdropping by the Stasi secret police
in the former East Germany.
German politicians in favour of IT companies teaming up,
such as Merkel, argue it would make Europe less dependent on
U.S. technology and data groups including Microsoft,
Google and Cisco.
It would copy the success of planemaker Airbus, part of
European group EADS, which compete head-to-head with
U.S. rival Boeing in the global aerospace market.
Hagemann Snabe said Europe's IT sector needed to promote
competition and foster young talent. "This way we will create
the next generation of young IT companies in Europe, thus
ensuring growth and progress," he said.
While some of SAP's U.S. rivals have said they were
expecting setbacks from the spying allegations, SAP said the
current debate around privacy in Europe is helping its business.
Still, the company will not proactively launch a campaign as
it does not want to offend its U.S. customers.
Hagemann Snabe made a plea for international standards for
data protection both in Europe and the United States, echoing
European telecoms commissioner Neelie Kroes.
The European Parliament's civil liberties committee recently
voted for a tougher data privacy regime in Europe.
That vote cleared the way for negotiations with member
states, with the aim of having a new code of conduct agreed by
May next year, the first fundamental updating of Europe's data
protection laws since 1995.