back to article UK gov squeezes 'best pricing' pledge from MS

Buying Solutions, the procurement arm of the UK government, yesterday proclaimed a new, better licensing deal with Microsoft. By securing best pricing terms for public sector bodies whatever their size (our italics), The Government could save us £75m over five years. For the first time, Microsoft licenses are fully …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy linux

    Why not buy Linux and save a great deal more in possible cost. Judging that the level of technical skills are just about zero in average for those in authority there would be little windows 'unlearning' to do either. It would be a double positive.

  2. Mike

    open source?

    so, if i were to take a copy of windows and move it from one computer to another - that's what they mean when they are talking about open source? ahhh.... thanks, i thought it had something to do with the source code being open or something, silly me!

  3. John
    Thumb Down

    Wow, impressive spin.

    Commit to buying microsoft products by the sounds of it for 5years, and sell it as supporting open source... o_O

    If I wasn't so annoyed I would be impressed.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Open Office

    If you haven't tried Open Office, try it now. I've installed the wordprocessor and the spreadsheet.

    And it works, and it's boring and predictable and all very familiar and opens my existing documents and saves in all sorts of formats including PDFs.

    I've dumped Internet Exploder for Firefox, MS Office for Open office, Visual Studio for Eclipse (I think the next few years non Windows platforms will grow and VS doesn't hack it cross platform), Outlook for Thunderbird. Games run on the Wii, why would I bother with Windows now unless you can give it to me dirt cheap?

  5. Geoff Mackenzie

    Oh dear

    "It also reinforces the Government’s commitment to its Open Source Action Plan by setting up a facility to reuse and share licences across the public sector."

    It would be funny if it wasn't so depressing...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It will be interesting to see...

    The detail, and the actual pricing involved. Government moves slowly, and to an extent has to allow a certain degree of freedom. If this pricing is too low, it could be viewed as anti-competitive by other vendors, whose prices are quite frankly too high, Oracle, SAP, IBM etc.

    But then, 'Best Pricing', what the hell does that mean, how do you measure that? Does the government actualy know how much MS sells software to Shell or the US Government for?

    So Oracle et al, better get your pricing ducks in order.

  7. daniel

    Or why not

    just use linux based distros? That way they could save a heck of a lot more than they would haggling with M$. What does an MP actually do? Writes letters, reports and such (open office) Browses the web to engage with the yoof, send and receive e-mail from those who elected them and read articles about themselves and errrr "research." Firefox is capable of all of that.

    I fail to see how a linux distro like Ubuntu can't be adopted. When it comes to public spending MPs should put up with a minor learning curve. It is minor, they don't have to use terminal or anything even slightly complicated. All they need to do is learn the gnome environment.

    By using a free operating system the tax payers gain and MPs lose about 10 minutes being told that they won't see the "start bar" anymore.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    All they need to do now

    is get MS to use a fair pricing system for the general public too...instead of working off the $1 = £1 pricing mechanism and ripping us off.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    That is all.

  10. Anonymous Coward


    To all those..why not use Linux....

    Yes, in many cases Linux can be used, but here is some shocking news. I sit here administrating system that their is no version for what a F**king suprise....

    In fact I have about 20 pieces of software here that Linux has no comparable version. And by comparable, I mean I don't have to learn how to programme, just to get the thing running.

    So before you twats sitting in your little 2 bit companies keep bleating on, Linux cannot do everything (well it could but until the apps are there, it can't)

    And as so many Linux freetards are anti propriety, it never will. Why should I spend £10million developing an app just to have a bunch of whinging bastards complain it's not "Open" and costs to much.

    Linux can be used for many things, but believe me, it isn't the answer to everything.

  11. Steve

    @ Mike

    "so, if i were to take a copy of windows and move it from one computer to another - that's what they mean when they are talking about open source?"

    It's more like you take a copy of Windows, try to move it from one computer to another and suddenly find out that MS are going to screw for another license. So you say rather loudly, "You know, that open source stuff I was reading about sounds interesting," and the price mysteriously drops.

  12. Michael
    Thumb Up


    ....Linux, BSD, and all POSIX have a certain learning curve , which, for some, is a bit too steep.

    Remember, this IS the Public Service we're talking about . (Think semi-trained chimps...most won't associate their IT budget with their HR budget, and will probably go on strike once a significant number get canned...not that we'll notice)

  13. System 10 from Navarone

    IF ONLY...

    ...introducing Open Source into an organisation was that easy. Yep, Open Office is good and works great at home, but large organisations usually have IT departments who decide what goes on users' machines, and they're not likely to support a mixture of operating systems if they can help it (or even different applications).

    Neither is it a 2 minute job to test replacement OSS applications for compatibility with all /existing/ systems. E.g. in somewhere like the NHS - is the GEM software used to authenticate NHS smartcards available for Linux? If not, that's a showstoper, and that's just one example out of 100's. On top of that, all the helpdesk support is usually geared up to Microsoft and the top tier of decision makers haven't got a clue about what the 'problem' is with Microsoft anyway.

    In short, the problem is systemic - proprietary formats such as Microsoft's have come to be seen as 'standard' (e.g. Explorer) and they're extremely difficult to extract now they've got their insidious multi-tentacled grip. Hmmm - almost like a cancer, come to think of it...

    Anyway, having spent a lot of thought on how to get more OSS into public organisational use, I have come to the conclusion that the only realistic way is for the procurers of public software to simply insist upon compliancy with open standards. If they'd done this in the first place, neither Explorer or Office would be in great use, for a start.

  14. Simon Painter

    @switch to linux brigade


    that is all.

  15. Richard Gadsden

    Open Source

    Right, you get ODMA (a published standard!) working in OpenOffice and then I can start looking at using it with a proper DMS.

    Then you need to write a DMS that works on anything other that Windows.

    Then I could look at migrating the rest of the proprietary software that one small law firm uses....

  16. Dr David Bellamy
    Gates Horns

    M$ purchase by UK GOV

    We could save thousands of millions of pounds if we only shifted away from the unethical Redmond monster.

    I work in the NHS and I got a nasty taste in my mouth a couple of years ago when the openminded dialog about operating systems suddenly got dumped in favour of a _huge_ payment to M$oft.

  17. Alex King
    Dead Vulture

    His or her?

    I would have thought, even in these 'modern times' that assuming people called Angela are female is a fairly safe bet...

  18. Lionel Baden

    @switch to linux brigade x2

    Yeah save money by retraining all staff then spending thausands on Linux consultants :/

    i understand what your trying to say but please 1 step at a time

    Just start with open office or something

    Dammit they have enough clout to write their own bloody office system .....

    would still be cost effective !

  19. Anonymous Coward

    @Dr David Bellamy

    "We could save thousands of millions of pounds if we only shifted away from the unethical Redmond monster."

    You could have also added... "if we only shifted away from the unethical scottish twat's government and the Redmond Monster" and nobody would have batted an eyelid.

    In all seriousness though, as much as it might appear to be a cost saving the nature of public sector organisations and the steroetypical folk that work in it, cost is not the biggest issue, whinging, moaning, even more sick days and "extended leave due to stress" would definately happen.

    I haven't even touched on the IT staff who are across the board mostly trained and experienced only in MS products and server tech. Also has anyone done a count to find out how many public sector organisations are using Sharepoint services/portals? How well does LInux handle those? If it doesn't that a huge cost that will automatically rule out Linux. Roll-out alone will take anything up to 5yrs per organisation which will have a severe impact on the services they provide.

  20. Al

    switch to linux desktop are you nuts?

    The average public sector body has a score of major applications, hundreds of minor applications and thousands of users with better things to do than learn a new operating system.

    The low hanging fruit is office software , after all that accounts for 50% of Microsoft profits.

    6/7 years ago when I worked for a large local authority we looked at moving to open office. There was a fair amount of good will towards it since we were aggrieved at what always felt like rack renting by MS. But the transition costs were just too great.

    We then thought about how often we should revisit the decision (on the basis that open office would get better with time) and decided that rather than spending loads of effort reviewing OO from time to time we should treat a sharp reduction in MS prices as the signal that they felt threatened.

    I don't know the details of the latest agreement but maybe now is the time.

  21. System 10 from Navarone

    @switch to Linux Brigade (WHAT!?!)

    '...spending thousands on Linux consultants and retraining' (etc)

    Which is absolutely nothing compared with the cost of a corporate monopoly having you by the balls.

    The implications of monopolisation being forced on an organisation (e.g. the NHS) are very, very bad for everyone concerned, that's why they used to prevent it in the good 'ol days before Microsoft.

    So, go ahead if you want to - take the money from our kidney machine savings account and just hand it over willy nilly to Bill and Steve, without a fight even. You'll pay in the end, oooh yes.

  22. Barrie Shepherd
    Jobs Horns

    "Best Price" MS software

    Just how does anyone know that they get "best price"?

    Every news releasse about MS doing a deal makes it clear that the costs are not to be disclosed. So who knows what the government of Nigeria paid, or the Pentagon ?

    A load of spin as far as I'm concerned

  23. Nigel

    If ... (@Gahhhh and others)

    If the UK government wanted to save us money, it could mandate migration to Linux and open document formats as a long-term goal. Say ten years. That would put all suppliers of software on notice that if they don't produce a Linux version well before 2019, their biggest customer will cease to be a customer. It would also put all competitors on notice that if the incumbent doesn't move, there will be a large opening for a big sale. What chance that any significant software vendor would stay Windows-only in these circumstances? Small to vanishing, I think.

    If Microsoft had a hissy fit and withdrew its special deals, that might increase costs in the short term, but surely would drive the migration process forwards at a faster rate! And UK govt should perhaps retalliate by instigating a few long-overdue monopoly investigations into Microsoft. WHY is it allowed to get away with the "Windows Tax"? I can't buy a new PC without Windows. And it's virtually impossible to get a refund on the Windows license, even if one never uses it.

    The problem is that the UK government does not want to save us money.

  24. Travis Vowinkel

    MS versus Open versus Apple

    At a ripe old age and working for a very large company I have come to realize that somethings are inevitable although common sense tells different. MS rules sublime. As a long time Mac and Neo office user I can vouch for them both but there is a mind set amongst companies (and it probably starts with the IT departments power) of no change is good. Reading some of the technical papers that are out on the web I do think that a change in thinking is needed especially in mono systems. It is of utmost urgency to have multiple systems available in case of attack by malicious others. Apple and it's OSX operating system, although open to attack as well, should be considered as a parallel system to MS for security.

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