Socitm/MS talks end in deadlock

The Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) and Microsoft have failed to agree on new licensing terms introduced by...

The Society of Information Technology Management (Socitm) and Microsoft have failed to agree on new licensing terms introduced by the software giant last year.

The public sector IT managers association described last week's meeting with Microsoft, at which it discussed the company's licensing proposals for the public sector, as "inconclusive".

Despite the outcome of the meeting, Socitm is still in discussions with Microsoft, and officials are hopeful that an agreement will be reached soon. A Socitm spokeswoman explained, "The meeting was inconclusive but discussions are continuing." The society is hopeful that there will be developments in the near future, she added.

Socitm has estimated that Microsoft's software licensing arrangements could cost local councils as much as £80m over the next two years.

Microsoft refused to disclose any details of the meeting, although the company has previously hinted that local authorities stand to benefit from a cross-government deal that it is negotiating with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

A spokesman for Microsoft said, "We are currently in ongoing negotiations with the OGC regarding government licensing agreements." Details of these discussions are customer-confidential, he added.

OGC officials have already warned that Microsoft's proposed licensing changes, announced in May last year, could cost the Government an extra £60m a year - enough to fund a medium-sized hospital.

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