Slow UK response to Microsoft ruling

There are opposing opinions over the implications of a Microsoft split.

There are opposing opinions over the implications of a Microsoft split.

While US users are considering including break-up clauses in their Microsoft contracts, UK businesses are doing little to prepare for the aftermath of the DoJ ruling.

Many US companies are attempting to insert break-up clauses into future contracts with Microsoft - particularly those about to roll-out Windows 2000. Such clauses would include changes to address the resulting financial changes covering the different products affected by a break-up of the company.

Paul Welsh, IT manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said: "We haven't looked at a possible break-up specifically, so far."

The Yorkshire is a big Windows NT4 user, running the operating system across its desktop systems, and is considering a Windows 2000 upgrade. Welsh said: "We are at the very early stages of considering an upgrade, and I suppose we would pose two questions before we did it: the technical justification for doing it, and what is happening at Microsoft? But the latter question hasn't been given precedence so far."

An IT manager at a local authority, who asked not to be named, told Computer Weekly: "The break-up is something I suppose we'll have to consider - if it is going ahead - but what alternative to Microsoft is there for an organisation like ours?

"If we chose some new fangled system instead [of Microsoft technology], and the alternative didn't work, we would be crucified if services from the council were affected."

UK users were also unsure how contracts with IT resellers would be affected by a break-up. John Archer, data processing manager at Weetabix, said, "It is hard to say what we can do, without anyone really knowing the outcome. And, as we don't deal with Microsoft direct, it is probably more difficult to link a break-up with our own contracts with dealers."

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