Microsoft extends government deal after public bodies fail to sign up

Microsoft has extended the duration of a software licencing offer it made to the UK public sector, after government organisations failed to buy enough software licences.

Microsoft has extended the duration of a software licencing offer it made to the UK public sector, after government organisations failed to buy enough software licences.

The UK Public Sector Licensing Agreement (PAS09) gives public bodies at least 40% discount on Microsoft software. But public bodies had to buy 300,000 software licences by 30 June, Microsoft's year-end, to qualify for an even higher discount.

Richard Steel, chief information officer of Newham Borough Council, said that only 150,000 public bodies, half of the number agreed, had signed up to the PAS09 agreement by the deadline.

"Under the contract, there was always an objective to get 300,000 new licences signed. It enabled you to carry forward with the best pricing," said Steel, who is also a member of the UK's local government COI Council.

Negotiations over the PAS09 deal ran 18 months late, with the OGC trying to retain the public sector's preferential prices even while getting more flexible licensing terms from Microsoft.

Andrew Gibson, an OGC spokesman, said that since negotiations had overrun there had been little time left for public bodies to take advantage of the Microsoft offer.

"It is not a problem. People have not been able to get their act together to properly appraise it by the original pricing deadline. So that has been extended quite considerably so a lot more people can take advantage of it," he said.

One of the ground-breaking terms of PAS09 was that if any public body secured a better price on Microsoft software then that price would have to be applied across the entire public sector.

Steel confirmed that the deadline had not been realistic. "I had calls from some people who had wanted to sign up for the deal, but you have to go through a council cabinet process or whatever to get authority to sign, and some people just could not achieve that process in the compressed window," he said.

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