Opinion

Whitehall must act on Microsoft

The UK's corporate IT users remain on course for a head-on collision with Microsoft over its recently announced changes to its software licensing framework.

The Redmond software giant's move from perpetual licenses to subscription licensing looks set to cost UK PLC dear, and a poll of members of the Computer Weekly 500 Club, who represent the most influential IT directors in the UK, shows that users are unwilling to take this summary shifting of the goalposts lying down.

The findings of the poll reveal a strengthening of resolve throughout the UK's IT departments. Less than half of the 500 Club members said they were likely to take out Microsoft's subscription licensing option, suggesting that the company has a battle on its hands to placate its UK customer base.

More than 80% of those polled believe it is time for the Government to take action against Microsoft under general competition policy.

Computer Weekly does not as a rule advocate offloading industry issues onto the Government. The culture of taking action is, by and large, a far more productive one than that of passing the buck. But, on this occasion, our readers have made it clear that Westminster must act now if Microsoft is to be prevented from holding UK industry to ransom.

Eyebrows were raised when the prime minister's pre-election visit to Microsoft's UK headquarters coincided with the launch of Office XP. Now the Government must prove that it is not afraid to take this most powerful of firms to task over its apparent disdain for the needs and sensitivities of corporate IT.

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