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Thousands of NHS staff stripped of Microsoft Office

health care IT

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 28 Jul 2010 at 11:24

Tens of thousands of NHS staff are to lose their personal copies of Microsoft Office after being caught out by a confusing licensing agreement.

Earlier this month, the NHS ended its £80 million Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft three years early. The agreement licensed 800,000 desktops across the health service, and offered software discounts to staff.

I should have read the terms and conditions, but let's be honest, life's too short

One discount was via the Home User Programme, which let NHS staff have a copy of Office 2007 for £8.95 for download or £17.95 for a disc. The full version of Office retails at £109.

However, the Home User sales merely offered a licence and not a full copy. Now that the Enterprise Agreement is over, staff have been told to remove the software from their PCs.

Employees have been emailed with instructions on how to remove Office from their computers, with no offer of a refund or way to upgrade to a full, legal version.

“Staff are advised that any copies of Microsoft Office that they may have installed on their home PC/Mac… as part of the ‘Home User Programme’ associated with the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement are no longer licensed, and should be removed,” the email said.

“The terms users accepted when entering in to the Home User Programme stated that they are only licensed a) while employed by the NHS and b) while the Enterprise Agreement is live,” the email added. “The amount paid for HUP versions was not to purchase the licence, but simply to get the media shipped from Microsoft.”

Microsoft echoed those words on its NHS website: "This offer gave NHS employees the opportunity to purchase Microsoft Office at a discounted rate of £8.95. Unfortunately, as the Enterprise-wide Agreement has not been renewed, NHS employees can no longer take advantage of this offer and must also uninstall their current copy of Microsoft Office if it was purchased under HUP.”

Life's too short

The sudden withdrawal of the Office licence has angered one PC Pro reader, who asked to remain anonymous. “Of course, I should have read the terms and conditions, but let's be honest, life's too short,” he said.

“I suppose I should also have guessed that £8.95 for a copy of Office or £17.95 for a physical disc was too good to be true,” he added, saying tens of thousands of NHS staff could be affected.

An NHS spokesperson stressed that hospitals wouldn't suffer from the conclusion of the agreement. “The Department of Health has already invested so that NHS Trusts are able to have access to the latest versions of Microsoft desktop software,” the spokesperson said.

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User comments

Well the NHS is a huge organisation and presumably uses / needs Office so it seems odd that they have found a cheaper way of licensing it than an Enterprise agreement.

I think we would have heard if they'd started using OpenOffice or similar and the announcement says "able to have access to the latest versions". Very odd. Still if they're saving taxpayer's money I guess they have to do it.

JH

By JohnHo1 on 28 Jul 2010

Licencing Agreements

Staff stripped of Microsoft Office at end of licensing agreement?

It a good job Microsoft doesn't make uniforms.

By john_coller on 28 Jul 2010

And how many staff do we expect will actually go to the trouble of uninstalling it, when it would be so easy to 'forget'?

By flyingbadger on 28 Jul 2010

Indeed, I imagine it will be highly unlikely anyone will actually go to the effort of checking if staff have removed it. Plus it's not as though Office 2007 will deactivate just because the licence is no longer valid.

What the article should state is that thousands of NHS staff will be left with Office 2007 licences that are no longer valid and so should. What it means is technically they should uninstall the software from their home computers, although in practice this will be next to impossible to enforce.

By skarlock on 28 Jul 2010

We have this deal at my place of work. I had no idea it could be withdrawn like this. It must be buried in the T&C's.
What happens if you carry on using it, I wonder? Does the licence disable the software?

By randomtoast on 28 Jul 2010

This is why licensing is confusing

I admit to getting confused reading this because of the following two lines:

"However, the Home User sales merely offered a licence and not a full copy."

Later followed by:
“The amount paid for HUP versions was not to purchase the licence, but simply to get the media shipped from Microsoft.”

Well, which is it?

By mviracca on 28 Jul 2010

Lol

Do they really think anyone is going to uninstall their copy of office?

By a_byrne22 on 28 Jul 2010

""However, the Home User sales merely offered a licence and not a full copy."

Later followed by:
“The amount paid for HUP versions was not to purchase the licence, but simply to get the media shipped from Microsoft.”

Well, which is it?"

The second one. The first line is giberish as far as I can tell.

I don't expect many people to actually uninstall this though.

By omnisvalidus on 28 Jul 2010

What is the £8.95 for

The £17.95 for the physical media. The £8.95 for the download?

Does it really cost £9 to host the media on a server. Who are they kidding. The money goes to purchasing a licence - if not it is to line their pockets.

I'm sure MS would rather have people using their "cheap" software rather than downloading really free alternatives like Google docs and OpenOffice - which incidentally works just like the favoured version of MS - Office 2003.

By Manuel on 28 Jul 2010

Most people don't use the full capabilities of office anyway.

This is a non story... most of the staff will greet the announcement with a "meh..."

By mcmpro1 on 28 Jul 2010

The NHS EwA and Home User Programme

Microsoft understands the concerns of NHS employees regarding the sudden requirement to uninstall any copies of Microsoft Office licensed via the Home User Programme (HUP).

The NHS decision not to renew the Enterprise-wide Agreement (EwA) that enabled NHS employees to benefit from the HUP was unexpected for us too and did not allow us any time to pursue other ways in which NHS employees could continue to benefit from the HUP.

However, we are now working with a number of NHS organisations to try to find local solutions to enable continued home use of copies of Microsoft Office licenced via the HUP.

We therefore recommend that all NHS employees who have purchased a licence for Microsoft Office via the Home User Programme refer to the IT department within their organisation for further information before uninstalling the product.

By MicrosoftUK on 28 Jul 2010

Only someone who is very religious about the licensing terms

Only someone who is very religious about the licensing terms would uninstall their copy of Microsoft Office 2007. An anyway, I agree about this being next to impossible to enforce; are they going to send out an enforcement agency to everyone who works at the NHS and purchased a copy of Microsoft Office 2007 and inspect their computers to make sure it has been removed?

By formula_86 on 28 Jul 2010

Why Does The Gov Not Go Open Source?

Considering how austere we all need to be, and considering how much cash could be saved by not buying an expensive OS like Windows, why are all Government departments not being required to change over to Linux and OpenOffice? If the documents are now broadly compatible, job done. And millions of pounds stay in the UK rather than exported to Redmond.

By colsmith on 28 Jul 2010

What is the £8.95 for

The £17.95 for the physical media. The £8.95 for the download?

Does it really cost £9 to host the media on a server. Who are they kidding. The money goes to purchasing a licence - if not it is to line their pockets.

I'm sure MS would rather have people using their "cheap" software rather than downloading really free alternatives like Google docs and OpenOffice - which incidentally works just like the favoured version of MS - Office 2003.

By Manuel on 28 Jul 2010

It's just contract (re)negotiations...

This sounds much more like contract and price negotiations than anything else.

We know the govt want to make cuts everywhere; maybe MS wouldn't play ball, so the govt said, right, we'll get rid of a few hundred thousand of your customers then. Presumably this created a lot of unwanted contact between Home Users and MS.

In retaliation, and to try and hang onto the market share, MS are trying to bounce back the requests to the NHS IT depts to create some work and expense as well as annoyance there. This could add some pressure from their end onto the govt.

It may be counter-productive though: the new govt is rabid about cutting costs, but not to the extent of many of the German Laender govts which moved to Open Source only solutions a while back.

In the end, I suspect MS will cut their price (they can afford to) because for them the marginal cost is zero for each extra licence in a group deal. If they don't, the govt will look elsewhere. Even to OpenOffice.

The other possibility (and speculation is fun) is that the govt has already cut the costs, and so MS tried playing hardball saying that they couldn't give licences to the employees then - which of course meant little to a govt trying to save as much money as they can (roughly six months revenue for MS).

At the end of the day, MS are on the back foot here; the govt wants to save cash, and don't mind putting costs of cuts in the domain of the last, Labour govt so are in a win-win situation. MS however, are more likely in a lose big or lose small situation...

By SwissMac on 28 Jul 2010

Well as it's home users who are affected it doesn't really matter - if you want to use it at home - buy it like everyone else!

By everton2004 on 28 Jul 2010

Let's face it, £109 is a lot less than businesses have to pay for it. Must still be a 75% discount.

Not sure all taxpayers contributing to the benefit given to a limited number of govt employees was fair in the past though.

At least Cameron and Clegg are a lot more au fait with computers than were Blair and Brown...

By SwissMac on 28 Jul 2010

OpenOffice anyone?

I know that OpenOffice is considered by many to not be up to scratch, but surely most home users would be perfectly happy with it?

By renhoek on 28 Jul 2010

"Well as it's home users who are affected it doesn't really matter - if you want to use it at home - buy it like everyone else!"

Don't you mean download it off Bittorrent like everyone else? ;-)

By omnisvalidus on 28 Jul 2010

I'm also curious about what agreement the NHS will be moving to. Personally, if I were an NHS employee, I suspect my beef would be with my NHS management for not making it clear that there was a material likelihood of non-renewal.

"why are all Government departments not being required to change over to Linux and OpenOffice?"
Because of the Total Cost of Ownership. If a finance department gets someone in, 99% probability they don't need to train them in Excel. Every probability they'd have to train them in OO. (Of course - there may be a tipping point in time).

Neither is it true to say that all open source apps are free - if you want support, you'll have to pay. How do you possibly imagine companies can afford to produce their open source versions of software? Please don't tell me you don't have contractually agreed support...

"If the documents are now broadly compatible, job done". Sorry, "broadly" doesn't cut the mustard if you're trying to create a professional job.

By AdrianB on 28 Jul 2010

How will they know?

I'm paranoid, of course, and MS doesn't REALLY have its software phone home and report on its status without telling you. Well, except for Windows, of course. And - well, what else?

But if there's a security patch for the program, then that patch may well check on the status of the program as part of MS's "need to know" as to whether the program has been patched or not. Other information could presumably be sent as well. This is, after all, how the Windows patching service works.

And all those people who didn't know that their NHS version of Office could be taken away from them, probably don't know that it can tell Microsoft about them either. And those who do know may not be able to tinker with the security settings to keep these things from Microsoft.

And they probably don't know that Microsoft can disable the software on your machine without giving you the slightest warning.

I see that this month Adobe has just decided to use Microsoft's distribution service for its patching as well. Does this mean that, once a month, Adobe can now check on your machine to see if you have any of their software which has a dodgy licence number?

By Philippa on 29 Jul 2010

How will they know?

Microsoft certainly has the ability to pop up incessent warnings about unlicensed Office software. I'm sure they can identify user who licences under this scheme and after a recent Windows Update, Office regularly phones home to check if your copy is pirated or otherwise unlicensed. It doesn't go as far as disabling the software AFAIK but you can't uninstall the update once it's there and the only way to get rid of the messages is to get a new licence key.

I'm not saying MS will do this but they have the capability.

By pbhudds on 29 Jul 2010

OpenOffice can set you free

OpenOffice is the answer.

By IndainArt on 29 Jul 2010

"This offer gave NHS employees the opportunity to *purchase* Microsoft Office....."
Surely the correct word would be 'rent'. Maybe they need to take a leaf out of the ISPs books and say you own 'up to 100% of the software'.

Will be interesting to see whether users blame the NHS, MS, of government. I know which I hope ;)

By davidsoap on 29 Jul 2010

Microsoft Suicide Policy

So often life is complicated by the letter of the law rather than the spirit of the law. Lets be honest, all those people who paid either fee for the disc or download are being told they now have no license. This will turn many people against Microsoft and I can envisage many people turning to OpenSource which is free.
I am usually an advocate of Microsoft software as a Micorosft developer - however its things like this that leave me shaking my head and wondering why Micorosoft has put such a clause buried in the contract when their are hungry competitors at the door.
I would encourage the NHS to look at OpenSource as the defacto standard and saving tax payers money in doing so and send a clear message that the consumer is not too small to be treated as insignificant by this giant.

By MichaelRoberts on 29 Jul 2010

Seems there have been several Microsofties on this thread! Not just the one named as such.

"Because of the Total Cost of Ownership. If a finance department gets someone in, 99% probability they don't need to train them in Excel. Every probability they'd have to train them in OO. (Of course - there may be a tipping point in time)."

This might be true if:

a) OpenOffice worked in a totally different way to MS Office

and

b) People used more than 10% of the functionality.

You don't need to train them if the software is more or less the same to work and you don't want to use much of it anyway.

"Neither is it true to say that all open source apps are free - if you want support, you'll have to pay. How do you possibly imagine companies can afford to produce their open source versions of software? Please don't tell me you don't have contractually agreed support..."

Exactly what "Contracted Support" do you really think you get for your hundred and something quid for MS Office. If you want support for MS Office, you have to pay for it, just like for Open Office; and no, most people don't have support for either. They all rely on their local technical bod as they always have.

" "If the documents are now broadly compatible, job done". Sorry, "broadly" doesn't cut the mustard if you're trying to create a professional job."

Oh come on. 99.9% of documents produced by either software suite are simple letters, or reports. The compatibility at this level has been complete for years. The only area of incompatibility seen by most people is the use by Microsoft of proprietary fonts, that Open Office cannot include. Most often this reveals itself as formatting mismatched as the proprietary font is a slightly different size to the one picked to replace it by Open Office. You can do an equally professional job with Open Office as with MS Word, and frankly, for the difference in costs to the company, you can afford to get a trainer/mentor in for quite a while to smooth over the differences.

Open Office and Linux on the desktop came of age years ago. The only thing holding Big Government back from using it is inertia .. well at least we hope it is .. Lets not hear any more news about brown envelopes.

By admered1 on 29 Jul 2010

Microsoft issues.

I am a Governor of a hospital Foundation Trust still doggedly using O-2K and have to have all my Word docs sent in the old .doc format because 2K cannot open the later formats. Further, Outlook 2K is now a “pain-in-the-but” but being retired, I cannot really afford to buy the latest software. I would convert to Open Office, or similar but am worried how secure they are.

By Cameraman on 29 Jul 2010

Choice: MS software or Doctors?

I don't think that total compatibility to support a swooshing logo in Powerpoint is worth it if the alternative is to lose a nurse.

I believe that 'broad' compatibility is sufficient when stark choices like that need to be made.

The point regarding support might be an issue, but I suspect the NHS IT departments would be stretched to provide the support rather than do too much in the way of outsourcing.

By colsmith on 29 Jul 2010

Typical NHS attitude

"I should have read the terms and conditions, but let's be honest, life's too short"

Then stop whinging and do something to lengthen it. Like cleaning some hospitals.

By alexbowden2 on 29 Jul 2010

admered1:
"You don't need to train them if the software is more or less the same to work" Then you have the lucky situation of working with more IT-literate users than most of us.

"most people don't have support ... They all rely on their local technical bod" This is not (or should not be) the case in major companies / organisations. In a small office, it undoubtedly works like that but we were talking NHS, etc.

"99.9% of documents produced by either software suite are simple letters, or reports. The compatibility at this level has been complete for years"

Sure it has - but do you really consider it a _professional_ approach to say, "Sorry that Presentation to the Minister fouled up but 99.9% of our letters come out OK"?

For the guys at home, then OpenOffice generally makes a perfectly adequate substitute for MS stuff. No issues. But I suggest you read elsewhere in this web-site of the experiences of business people who tried to standardise on OO. 99% of the time - fine, as you say. But it's a bit tricky trying to install MS Office for the 1% only. Before the foul-up.

By AdrianB on 29 Jul 2010

£80 Million??

I've really no idea why Goverment spends so much with Microsoft, there's absolutley no reason to use MS Office when Open office is free and IMHO better than 2007 and 2010, the user training to chnage just doens't work either, lets face it if you had 1/4 of a brain you can work out how to use Open office. There's no need to use Outlook either, when OWA is just as good. They could even go TBird for teh mail client if they wanted if it was me I'd drop exchange anyway there are several mail servers out there that are way better running on NIX they could even save the cost of 20 odd Exchange admins and have 2 or 3 looking after a proper mail system.

In my epxeriance people will just whine and whine if they don't get the software they want, but what they need telling is "Get a can of harden the F up" and work out how to use the software that is being provided, £80,000,000 must be the running costs of a super hosptital. I know which one I want.

By Brooker on 29 Jul 2010

@ AdrianB

I'd take 99.9% reliability for any software thank you very much. Do you really think MS word doesn't have it's problems. I look after SMB's for a living several of which have migrated to Office 2007 and 2010 from 2003, I can't tell you how much grief this has caused. A completely new layout people not being able to open documents they've sent etc etc. Senior people in any job need to take more responsibility themselves, if that presentation didn't work it's because it wasn't checked before hand, not because it was made on OO. Lets face it we all make choices when we purchase something, using OO means we the tax payer are better off. The saving in software could go to having better support and still make a saving.

By Brooker on 29 Jul 2010

@Brooker

"I'd take 99.9% reliability for any software" So would I - but we were talking compatibility, not reliability.

2003 to 2007 / 2010 issues - I can well believe it, which is why I get annoyed when people say "if you had 1/4 of a brain you can work out how to use Open office". It appears there are issues within Office but not in transitioning to OO? Unlikely, I suggest.

"The saving in software could go to having better support". Possibly - but my point is still that the argument has to be about Total Cost of Ownership and so many people simply cannot get their minds past that first cost of purchase and just write comments along those lines as if they were the only costs and issues.

1. OO for home use is a no-brainer I think, because there isn't any later cost.
2. OO for SMBs is very much dependent on the level of document interchange and the support level purchased. (The presentation anecdote was taken from a post elsewhere describing externally produced PowerPoint presentations not working in OO. No opportunity to update them.)
3. OO in large corporates - there is a much greater issue here with training and (guaranteed, risk-free) support than some people appreciate. Anyone saying that users ought to understand this sort of stuff without training has no place in corporate support. Just appreciate that your next call could involve telling someone which way round to hold the mouse...

By AdrianB on 29 Jul 2010

Using the same software at home and at work

First of all, although I work in the NHS I don't have any axe to grind over this one because the deal doesn't extend to Wales.
My understanding of the HUP deal was to encourage staff to have the same software at home as they used in work.
Well, let's turn it the other way round. I use OpenOffice.org at home as I do some work documents on it, and this is not allowed with the Home and Student version of MS Office. So why not have the same software in work that we use at home? The documents are in an ISO recognized format, they take up less disc space than MS Word files, and the interface is familiar. And I do gather that the NHS could do with saving a few million pounds!

By richardpenney1 on 29 Jul 2010

"So why not have the same software in work that we use at home?"
In spite of being accused of being a Microsofty, I would agree totally with your suggestion, with the proviso that a quantified tipping point first has to be reached when TCO of MS Office exceeds TCO of OO. And the cost of training is definitely part of the TCO.
By the way - unless OO have pulled their finger out recently, OO does not use an ISO standard - see Simon Jones in PCPro - OO upgraded their formats (as they have every right to) but didn't submit an upgraded standard to ISO. And the current OO standard (never mind the ISO one) omits any definitions for the formulae in spreadsheets.
Happy to take a correction if something's happened since.

By AdrianB on 29 Jul 2010

@ AdrianB

I'd take 99.9% reliability for any software thank you very much. Do you really think MS word doesn't have it's problems. I look after SMB's for a living several of which have migrated to Office 2007 and 2010 from 2003, I can't tell you how much grief this has caused. A completely new layout people not being able to open documents they've sent etc etc. Senior people in any job need to take more responsibility themselves, if that presentation didn't work it's because it wasn't checked before hand, not because it was made on OO. Lets face it we all make choices when we purchase something, using OO means we the tax payer are better off. The saving in software could go to having better support and still make a saving.

By Brooker on 29 Jul 2010

@ AdrianB

I'd take 99.9% reliability for any software thank you very much. Do you really think MS word doesn't have it's problems. I look after SMB's for a living several of which have migrated to Office 2007 and 2010 from 2003, I can't tell you how much grief this has caused. A completely new layout people not being able to open documents they've sent etc etc. Senior people in any job need to take more responsibility themselves, if that presentation didn't work it's because it wasn't checked before hand, not because it was made on OO. Lets face it we all make choices when we purchase something, using OO means we the tax payer are better off. The saving in software could go to having better support and still make a saving.

By Brooker on 29 Jul 2010

Mea culpa

I refreshed the page and have apparently resent my original post, no idea how that happened.
Don't get me wrong Adrian, there is a place for everything, but let’s face it there isn't anything such as guaranteed where IT and software is concerned. And of course Large enterprises may have the need for a SLA (That in real terms is meaningless) but this is the NHS and £80,000,000 is a huge figure, they’re not profit making Like a Bar Cap or some such that can levy this cost against what they make. Add to this, this is a recurrent cost, it’s not a one off, if they needed it to be ISO then they could easily add some resources to the OO project. And you’re still talking about the 0.1% that may have an issue, most users don’t even have the 70 – 30 rule where 70 % of the functionality isn’t used, IMHO it’s more 90 -10 10% is used. The problem is often managing what people want.
See the rise is corporate requests for a laptop when someone in a department gets a new one. Many people won’t actually need one, they just want it. The BBC years ago had a problem with Photoshop and quark licences, everyone wanted one, even if they didn’t need it.

By Brooker on 29 Jul 2010

Microsoft Fanboys don't uderstand business

Although NHS employees have access to Office 2007, there will be few using it at work. What a lot of home users don't understand is that it is far easier for an office 2003 user to use OpenOffice than it is for them to use Office 2007. For a large organisation retraining staff to use 2007 is a major consideration.
Microsoft claimed that the move to the ribbon on 2007 was to improve usability but it is well documented that they have been trying to use Software Patents to prevent competitors implementing their look and feel -so the drive is to retain their monopoly position.

By milliganp on 30 Jul 2010

"it is far easier for an Office 2003 user to use OpenOffice than it is for them to use Office 2007"

An interesting thought - I've not used the ribbon so can't comment personally - except that I'm going to have to get used to it since all major browsers seem to be discarding menus.

But re Office 2003 and OO - I have used OO on my netbook and can't see any reason why I'd want to move from Office 2003 to OO in its current incarnation. Office 2003 just works for me so why change? I think that's more likely to be what happens (or doesn't) in large companies.
Outlook 2003 might be the weak point but since none of the open source offerings comes even close to Outlook's breadth of facilities in one single application, I can't see it being critical.

By AdrianB on 30 Jul 2010

Who is going to pay for the time taken to uninstall the program. Can Microsoft really compel you to work for free, and would this be deemed a fair condition of a contract? You can write what you want in a contract but if it's not compliant with The unfair contract terms (or what ever it's called) act, it's not enforceable.

By stokegabriel on 30 Jul 2010

Oh but the poor dears NEED word!

Stop the masses calling Text files Word Docs unless that is you call all cars "Fords", same with Spreadsheets or "Excels".
Educate people that one American corporation does not control all the worlds business files. I totally agree about people using OpenOffice at home, learning to use a "function" is many times more valuable a skill than knowing you "always hit the button with the blue thing on after the green square one" etc. Half the problem going Office 2003 to 2007 is the mental sequences get screwed and people don't know what actual function they want they just know what button they used to press. Microsoft love the ignorance of people who think they "Need Visio" to draw a couple of boxes, even dyed-in-the-wool Office users I've got using OpenOffice Draw or Inkscape now at a saving of hundred per seat.
I won't run MS Office at home now, last one I bought was Office97 and not once have I regretted it. Outlook is a standard but "Evolution" is catching up and the search in Thunderbird 3 is miles better than Outlook.
Lets stop calling mail from Exchange "Email" let's call it more accurately MSMail (MessyMail) as you try interacting with it fully with anything other than Microsoft software.
Break out of the mindset and pay for training not mental yokes.

By Powernumpty on 31 Jul 2010

does the uninstall apply to Office 2003?

If the agreement was only with Office 2007 perhaps we could uninstall 2007 and reinstall Office 2003 - does anyone have a copy of the T & C with the earlier version ?

By fredo on 2 Aug 2010

...and the problem is?

Seriously: anyone who made use of the HUP programme should have understood its terms --it is not rocket science. It is annoying that MS has withdrawn the licence agreement, but on the other hand it has also restructured its pricing scheme for Office so that an ordinary home user can now buy a copy for less than £90,-- and install it on three home machines. No biggie then.

For those who think that is too much to pay, there is Open Office. It is free, and fully compatible with all MS Office documents.

By Nexxo on 9 Aug 2010

OK, so I'm a bit late - but were the NHS really paying £100 a copy for 800,000 copies of Office????

NHS managers have no idea!

By pscsuk on 17 Jan 2011

Two things

The HUP has two basic restrictions, you are licensed to use if
a. your company has an EA
b. you are an employee of that company
If you leave or your company stops the EA then you are no longer licensed to use it.
All software is sold as license to use either a permanent license or limited in some way. You never own the software you just pay for the right to use it. £8.95 for the same copy of Office that you have installed on your work computer seems a good deal to me.
The £80 million pounds will be the whole EA agreement covering not only Office but also Windows and the mirad server CALs that are required, SQL, Exchange, Sharepoint etc.
Moving to Linux and Open Office is fine if you want to make all your IT staff redundant and employ new ones with correct skill sets, you will also need all the CALS for the backend systems (including OWA and Active Sync).
The cost for someone like teh NHS to move all their e-mail to a new system would I expect be quite large and outweigh the annual cost of the EA.
The cost of re-writing all teh proprietary software to run on Linux instead of Windows would be astronomical and given the the inability of large governmental organisations to deliver large IT projects at all let alone cheaply it would be a brave person to go down that route.

By Lorribot on 2 Feb 2013

MOD staff stripped too

The Enterprise Agreement for the MOD has just ended (31 May 13) taking that HUP with it too.

MS Office 2013 or MS Office for Mac 2011 were available for £8.95 and additionally MS Visio 2013 and MS Project 2013 were available for a further £8.95 each.

For those in the comments who question the value of selling cheap licences of MS Office to employees (possibly subsidised by taxpayers) may I make a couple of observations.

i) The many public sector employees may have been hired for primary skill sets other than using MS Office (nursing, soldiering, policing, etc) yet are still required to productively use these tools. Consider the cost of attending MS Office training in work time, or sending on external training courses (with travel and subsistence) against the cost of getting employees to pay a nominal fee to use and learn in their own time outside work.

ii) Moving to Open Office in addition to the training issue also misses the fact that may large organisations are using MS SharePoint, and other MS Servers: Exchange, SQL, etc.

By adstannard on 1 Aug 2013

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