Microsoft reported to the OFT by Becta

Remember this article (Would you buy software licenses you can’t use?) I wrote a little while ago? Well it seems as though Becta have had enough trying to negotiate with Microsoft and have referred them to the Office of Fair Trading for alleged anti-competitive practices in the schools software market.

Hooray. This is good news. According to the original article:

The agency’s main concerns surround the limitations Microsoft places on schools using its subscription licensing arrangements and the potential interoperability difficulties for schools, pupils and parents who wish to use alternatives to Microsoft’s Office software, including “free to use” alternatives.

They missed an opportunity here when they could have suggested that Schools deploy instead.:

Becta’s advice to schools considering moving to Microsoft’s School Agreement subscription licensing model is that they should not do so. Schools must be legally licensed for all the software they are using, and if licensing Microsoft products is an imperative they should consider using a perpetual agreement such as ‘Select’ until such time as the OFT have responded to our complaint.

But they make up for that slip up a bit by saying here:

Becta’s advice to schools in relation to the deployment of Office 2007 remains that schools and colleges should only deploy Office 2007 when its interoperability with alternative products is satisfactory. That would necessarily imply effective support by Microsoft of the internationally approved ODF file format.

About time too. Next time you talk to your childrens’ teacher tell them about Open Source software and in particular. Perhaps we could save the country a few Million quid and get some more teachers/books/hardware/sports equipment or anything else that would be more useful and valuable than a piece of paper from Microsoft; that’s all you get in reality…

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