UK schools warned not to sign deals with Microsoft

By Justin Mann on
A Government watchdog in the U.K. is offering software advice for U.K. schools. That advice is to avoid signing licensing deals with Microsoft, primarily due to their their anti-competitive practices.

Despite them having recently settled with the EU, there are still concerns over Microsoft's business practices, such as academic licensing. The assertion is that the existing licensing deals are too restrictive and could potentially stifle competition (such as OpenOffice). The example given is that UK schools locked into these deals are forced to pay fees on every PC they have whether or not it runs Microsoft software. While it might seem shocking that a company can force a school to pay fees for software they don't use, the ample discounts Microsoft hands out to these institutions is obviously tempting enough for them to turn a blind eye.

The idea of Governments interfering or advising on software decisions isn't a new one, but it is an important one to consider. Government contracts are often hugely loved by Microsoft and have been in the past an easy way for them to prevent large amounts of machines from using competing software. High-profile Governments not just turning the other cheek but outright suggesting finding alternatives is becoming increasingly more common, such as the French parliament last year.

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