SME anger over MS public sector deals

Last week Computing exclusively revealed that local government, Whitehall departments and the police were negotiating an agreement similar to the one already signed with the NHS.

Meanwhile many private sector businesses are still campaigning against changes to licence agreements, which blue chip user group The Infrastructure Forum claims will lead to an average 94% increases in costs.

David Rippon, chairman of the Elite user group said Microsoft seemed to be pursuing two separate strategies.

‘It’s a classic situation where a supplier is picking off the obvious big customers,’ he said.

‘What it will leave out is the customers at the high end of the small and medium sized business. Microsoft won’t cut a deal for a company with 500 seats.’

‘I suspect that the big customers will get the cut-price deals and we will be thrown to the sharks,’ he said.

Earlier this month the NHS signed a three-year corporate licence for all Microsoft software that it says will save POunds 50 million.

Central and local government, as well as police forces, are now in negotiation with Microsoft about a similar deal.

Microsoft has provided a discussion document for the Office of Government Commerce, local government user group Socitm and Association of Chief Police Officers for a UK Government Microsoft Licensing Agreement.

Socitm is asking for feedback from its members, and is urging them to provide details of the licensing costs to be used in the negotiations with Microsoft.

Analysts Meta Group said big companies will still be able to negotiate with Microsoft – and the best option for smaller companies is to check their licensing. Such housekeeping could save enough money to offset the increase in costs because of the changes.


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