UK govt sticks by Microsoft for software due to cost savings

The UK government is sticking by Microsoft as its software provider of choice due to cost savings – even over open source alternatives. 

The revelation came after Jos Creese, the CIO of Hampshire County Council, told Computing that a combination of a workforce already familiar with Redmond gear and a refreshing flexibility from the vendor side made Microsoft a surer bet when taking into account the total cost of ownership.

“Proprietary solutions – from Microsoft, SAP to Oracle and others – need to justify themselves and to work doubly hard to have flexible business models to help us further our aims,” he said.

After support for Windows XP ended, many asked the question whether governments, businesses, and schools would remain on Microsoft’s software.

It was assumed by many, due to the upgrade cost, open-source could potentially be a more cost-effective solution over remaining on Microsoft’s ecosystem. Yet, as Creese explained, the UK government is choosing to remain with Microsoft over open source alternatives because it generally works out cheaper once costs have been calculated.

Microsoft cut off support for Windows XP to the general public on April 8th after 12 years in a bid to move customers to the later and more advanced operating systems from the company including Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Plenty has been written before, during and after the move; however, many still use the ageing XP despite its security risks. At the end of last month security experts warned that Internet Explorer on an unprotected XP was a recipe for disaster, even if the fears of an XPocalypse were a little wide of the mark.

The company agreed to extend support to governments who requested it, including the UK, but has sliced licensing fees in a bid to make the newer offerings more appealing. An extension to the support term cost the UK government £5.5 million for only an extra year’s worth.

“We have made an agreement with the Crown Commercial Service to provide eligible UK public-sector organisations with the ability to download security updates to Windows XP, Office 2003 and Exchange 2003 for one year until 8 April 2015,” said a Microsoft spokesperson at the time.

Do you think the UK government made the right decision sticking by Microsoft’s software? Let us know in the comments.

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