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Plan Calcul was a French governmental program aimed to promote a national computer manufacturing industry and associated research activities.

The plan was approved in July 1966 by president Charles de Gaulle, in the aftermath of two key events that made his government worry about French "computer sovereignty".[1] First, the United States denied export licenses for American-made IBM and CDC computers to the French Commissariat à l'énergie atomique in order to prevent it from perfecting its H bomb.[1][2][3]:21 Then, in 1964, General Electric acquired 50% of the shares of Compagnie de Machines Bull, the largest French computer manufacturer, which had the second highest market share in France, after IBM. Following this partial takeover,[4] known as "Affaire Bull",[5] GE-Bull dropped two Bull computers from its product line.[2]

As part of the program, in December 1966, the Compagnie internationale pour l'informatique (CII) was established as a manufacturer of scientific computers. The new company was not intended to compete in the commercial office computing sector of the French market, where IBM was dominant at the time.[1] The Plan enacted government subsidies for CII between 1967 and 1971.[6] The program also led to the creation of L'Institut de recherche en informatique et en automatique (IRIA) in 1967, which later became INRIA.[4]

Responsibility for administering the Plan was given to a newly created government post, délégué à l'informatique, answering directly to the prime minister.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Robert W. Crandall, Kenneth Flamm, Changing the rules: technological change, international competition, and regulation in communications, Brookings Institution Press, 1989, ISBN 081571596X, p. 285
  2. ^ a b c Wayne Sandholtz, High-Tech Europe: the politics of international cooperation, University of California Press, 1992, ISBN 0520073134, p. 76
  3. ^ (French) Alain Beltran, Pascal Griset, Histoire d'un pionnier de l'informatique: 40 ans de recherche à l'Inria, EDP Sciences, 2007, ISBN 2868838065
  4. ^ a b (French) Emmanuel Laurentin (26 Sep 2006) 1966 : La France lance le plan Calcul, France Culture, La fabrique de l'histoire (series)
  5. ^ Richard Coopey, Information technology policy: an international history, Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN 0199241058, p. 9
  6. ^ Kenneth Flamm, Creating the computer: government, industry, and high technology, Brookings Institution Press, 1988, ISBN 0815728492, p. 156


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