The war waged by the French president, Jacques Chirac, against "Anglo-Saxon" cultural imperialism has suffered a blow as the Germans announced they were pulling out of a European search engine which it was hoped would rival Google.
Last year Mr Chirac announced a series of ambitious projects designed to challenge the global dominance of the US. They included Quaero, a Franco-German search engine whose name is Latin for "I search", but which was swiftly dubbed "Ask Chirac".
The project soon ran into difficulties and now the German economics and technology ministry has confirmed it is abandoning the €400m (£270m) project because it was sceptical it would ever be able to challenge the might of Google and Yahoo! A ministry spokeswoman told the Guardian: "The French wanted a search engine. We wanted something else."
Instead, Germany is to launch Theseus, an "information and technology service".
The French government has hinted it will continue to develop Quaero without the Germans.
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