UK schools' Microsoft bill cut by £10m

UK schools' Microsoft bill cut by £10m

Summary: The Department for Education claims a new deal with Microsoft will mean UK schools will get discounted software and more flexible licences.


The Department for Education (DfE) has signed a deal with Microsoft to cut UK schools' software bill by millions of pounds. 

The DfE said on Thursday that schools will save £10m over three years after it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft.

The deal will run across the UK from January 1 until the end of 2015 and will allow schools to buy Microsoft's academic software at a discounted price and provide more flexible licences.

"Schools will now have the option to license software by headcount rather than by device, which is a greater freedom for them," a DfE spokeswoman told ZDNet. "It also allows them the alternative to use other products without being penalised under their licence. For example, some schools might choose to use OpenOffice rather than Microsoft Office. Before it was all or nothing."

The DfE says schools are under no financial or contractual obligation with Microsoft to buy its software.  

The deal, brokered with the help of the Government Procurement Service (GPS), builds on an existing arrangement that the DfE has held with Microsoft since 2004.

The public sector has been trying to negotiate better deals with software companies in other departments in recent months. 

In June last year, Microsoft and SAP recently agreed deals to a £70m cut in the amount they charge the public sector including local and central government, health and emergency services. Meanwhile, the Cabinet Office agreed a deal with Oracle in March 2012 it claimed could yield savings of £75m by 2015.

Topics: Microsoft, Government UK, Software, United Kingdom, Education

Sam Shead

About Sam Shead

Sam is generally at his happiest with a new piece of technology in his hands or nailing down an exclusive story. In the past he's written for The Engineer and the Daily Mail. These days, Sam is particularly interested in emerging technology, datacentres, cloud, storage and web start-ups.

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  • Anti-trust still alive ?

    "It also allows them the alternative to use other products without being penalised under their licence. For example, some schools might choose to use OpenOffice rather than Microsoft Office. Before it was all or nothing."

    Microsoft had conditions that penalised use of alternatives ?
    • Yes, as do many companies

      imagine planning, purchasing, and getting ready to deply for 7000, only to be told after you spent the money that it's only going to be 1000. Where do you get that back from?

      Even companies that aren't in software build protection for themselves into long term contracts like these - If Apple tells Samsung they'll buy 1 million screens over 3 years at a certain agreed cost, then comes back and says, thanks for teh price, but we're only going after 250,000 1 year in, Samsung's not going to eat the cost.

      Same goes with Software, it would seem.
      William Farrel
      • This is true

        Thats why companies either wait to "not renew a contract when its up" or cancel a year or more in advance of actually stopping orders... Otherwise you have to buy your way out which is pointlessly expensive... Its not anti trust so much as trust issues
      • Reality

        It's a novel concept. I suggest you look it up, or get it explained to you, as it appears you have little experience of it.
        • ego.sum.stig, I've shown on numerous occasions

          that I'm much smarter then you on subjects of technology and business, so please just stop before embarrassing yourself anymore then you already do.
          William Farrel
          • Ah, delusional

            Thy name is Farrel.
          • Actually,

            I think you're amazing thick.

            Obviously my opinion of you carries more weight than your own opinion of yourself.

            Otherwise you'd just be conceited and vain and... Ah yes, you've already proved that.

            But then, being so conceited and vain, you wouldn't have a clue how thick you are really, because, you just delude yourself.
      • Missing the point a bit.

        Before, no school could use Open Office AND Microsoft Office.

        7000, 1000, 10, doesn't matter what number you pull out of your backside.

        Once the OS/Application has been created, then the cost of duplication is negligible.

        So it doesn't really matter if you offer 7000, and they change their minds and only want 1000.

        All you are doing is selling them sh**ty bits of paper at that point, that says they have a license to use that many.

        Good grief, how thick are you?
    • MOLP

      Yeah, kinda. Under a MOLP (for example) you have to licence every machine with a Microsoft OS, a "Core Product" (in reality "Office") and a CAL (Concurrent Access Licence). That's EVERY machine, didn't matter if it was actually running the software or not (or indeed if it even COULD run the software). This is VERY commonplace indeed.

      This is also where the classic "double counting" comes in, you buy a machine (probably comes with Windows) but you still have to licence a copy of Windows for it - so Microsoft sell a copy of Windows then Licence another copy of Windows on the same machine.

      This is how a MOLP works (well, used to - I've not actually been involved in buying one for a few years - I assume it's still the same?)
  • just get rid

    of MS completely to save many more tens of millions of pounds. Ever heard of Raspberry Pi? You also get smarter, more educated kids as a side-effect.
    • Err...

      While the Raspberry Pi is a fantastic little computer, you can't replace EVERYTHING with it - don't forget computers are used on courses where IT isn't the subject being taught. Also I can't see the administration being able to use them.

      But sure, if you're teaching IT then having them as at least PART of the curriculum is a very good idea.
      • I didn't mean

        entirely removing computers from the curricula. Yes there should be more old fashioned classes and abusing IT (such as calculators for Math classes) tools in education is bad for education.
        I meant remove a non-free, proprietary vendor that has no educational agenda. The only agenda MS seem(s) to follow is creating dependency of their own ad-hoc products and ensuring agnosticism of the available alternatives.
        The goals of Microsoft and the educational institutions are pretty much orthogonal to each other. Microsoft is a fisherman interested in nourishing consumers, not more independent fishers capable of catching their own fish. Unless educators are not sponsored by Microsoft, they pursue opposite goals. More on this here
        I meant remove non-free, proprietary vendor that has no educational agenda. The only agenda they seem to follow is to
        • last paragraph

          is to be deleted. Cannot edit, thanks zdnet
        • Managing the environment

          Just curious as to how you would see said environment managed?
          How would you see 600 devices in one site maintained in terms of software updates, system management, printer deployment etc?
          Can you manage software restrictions for multiple user types en masse?
          Can you deploy a new package to specific groups of machines from a central location without visiting each machine in turn?
          Last time I checked, Linux wasn't quite as easy to maintain in those numbers. Happy to be proven wrong and to look into it further if you have evidence to support your point that Microsoft don't make it easier for under-staffed schools IT departments to maintain the systems under their remit.
          • The other way around

            "Last time I checked, Linux wasn't quite as easy to maintain in those numbers."
            [i]When [/i] did you check it exactly? Since now, GNU/Linux or *BSD are almost always easier to maintain than any MS or Apple's system.

            For example, secure central repositories/ports exists maintained by professional developers. 99.999% of all installations are done from those repositories through one interface with multiple options for both the back ends ends and front ends, such as yum, apt, pkg/synaptic pm, yast etc In any case, the system will have complete information about every package. The updates are handled with one click or one command for all installed base, not per every package.

            This is very different from the Windows and Mac OS X practices, where user/admins must be on their own running substantial risks every time they install 3-d party software from unknown sources -- this is a major infection vector for MS Windows. The installation is either handled via central system or an ad-hoc one, so maintaining and updating might be a hassle.
          • huh?

            When do schools install random 3rd part software?
            Michael Alan Goff
          • even if you're right

            and monitor those schools to not install stuff from the unknown sources. And if all the software installed by every single school is checked for both integrity and digital signatures. Updates are handled by the unified Windows update manager. What happens, when both teachers and pupils get home and find themselves on their own with their Windows boxes?
          • even if this is

            really the case and every school installs all of its software from the well-known places from a single Windows install manager that checks for both integrity and digital signatures. All updates are handles by one update manager in a similar, seamless fashion. Both pupils and teacher do come home once in a while to find themselves on their own with a little bit different type of Windows environment.
          • awful

            that there is no editing.
          • If I had to guess

            I'd say that without the ability to download anything that would use admin privileges, there shouldn't be much concern.

            How would they find it different than school if they go about it that way?
            Michael Alan Goff