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Google Android Developer Challenge - but not for Italy (and Quebec)

Posted by fabriziogiudici on November 13, 2007 at 3:12 AM PST

Everybody is talking about Google Android and - as usual - there's an interesting context with $10M dollars in prizes. Excellent news for people and corporates who want to play with innovation.

And as usual Italy is excluded from the competition (and I see Quebec too). Looking at the FAQ, you learn that:

The Android Developer Challenge is open to individuals, teams of individuals, and business entities. While we seek to make the Challenge open worldwide, we cannot open the Challenge to residents of Cuba, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Sudan, and Myanmar (Burma) because of U.S. laws. In addition, the Challenge is not open to residents of Italy or Quebec because of local restrictions.

I say "as usual" since this constantly happens, for instance past year's Sun Grid Developer Challenge had similar rules.

You might wonder what are those "local restrictions". Well, for my country:

  • prizes must be assigned in presence of a notary public and a representative from an acknowledged consumer association;
  • prizes that are not delivered (for any reason, including recipient not picking them) must be donated to some non-profit organizations, explicitly listed in the contest rules;
  • there are some papers to fill in and the contest must be registered to two different Ministries (you know, in Italy there are a lot of Ministries, sometimes it's hard to understand who's doing what) and to the State Monopoly Administration.

But above all:

  • the entity which is organizing the contest must guarantee in advance a security deposit "cash loan" (not sure of the translation here, but I hope you get the point) covering the whole value of prizes.

I mean, the first points are an annoyance, but probably a legal office can carry them out in some ways (of course, with additional expenses and complexity). In any case they are laughable in the context of Web {2,3}.0 and the new economy and whatever. But the last point would mandate that Google froze $10M in some bank account to "guarantee" that prizes will be really delivered (even though it's extremely unlikely that all the prizes are delivered in Italy).

I realize that, in Google's shoes, I'd take the same decision and exclude Italy from the contest. You give up with a small fraction of the potential targets, but you're freed from such a crazy bureaucracy.

We Italians are so grateful to our lawmakers that in every circumstance make sure that our life is easier and we can compete with the rest of the world.

PS If you're going to mention this story, please add the following string to your post: 405849595839 - it can be used for tracking this thread. Henry Story explains the technical details in his blog.

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