UK Government to Dump Microsoft Office for Open Source Software – Report

Local authorities are planning to cut costs with software

Microsoft could lose a contract with another important customer, as the United Kingdom is planning to cut costs with software used by the government and switch from Microsoft Office to open source solutions.

A report published by The Guardian claims that Cabinet Minister Francis Maude would soon announce plans to reduce costs with software solutions running on government computers, as the local authorities spent no less than 200 million pounds (€242 million / 331 million) since 2010 for Microsoft Office licenses.

The same report claims that the UK government is looking for more options when it comes to productivity suites and enhance collaboration and data sharing, which is a bit weird given the fact that Office comes with state-of-the-art features in this regard.

“Technical standards for document formats may not sound like the first shot in a revolution. But be in no doubt: the adoption of compulsory standards in government threatens to break open Whitehall's lock-in to proprietary formats. In turn we will open the door for a host of other software provider,” an excerpt from Maude’s speech reads.

“The software we use in government is still supplied by just a few large companies. A tiny oligopoly dominates the marketplace. I want to see a greater range of software used, so civil servants have access to the information they need and can get their work done without having to buy a particular brand of software.”

Microsoft, on the other hand, wants to continue investments in its Office suite and the company is reportedly planning to rename the web-based version in order to boost its consumer appeal. According to people familiar with the matter, Office Web Apps will soon be renamed to Office Online, in a move supposed to help users find the purpose of the service easier.

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