by, 16th May 2009 at 01:05 PM (2903 Views)
I thought that now would be a good time to put a post about licensing Microsoft software in schools. Considering many schools are approaching the end of their Schools Agreement, and with Becta's advice stating that the subscription based model involves over the top buy-out costs, and due to that involves vendor lock-in. Becta Publication
Combine that with the fact that Becta referred the whole issue to the Office of Fair Trading.
So, my trail started by compiling some numbers. I counted up where we would want to use each piece of Microsoft Software, and combined it with the fact that we would most likely be looking to do an update to Windows 7 when it is released (and Server 2008 R2).
Using these numbers I contacted a number of licensing companies, who gave me an array of pricing. This was where I was in for a shock.
I discovered that if I wanted to license under the Select agreement, we would be paying roughly £14k. This would provide us with Software Assurance until September, when the current Becta contract ends. To continue with the Software Assurance, we would then have to renew for a further 3 years, which using current prices would come to a further £10k.
So, there you have it. To buy licenses for our computers and be able to then update to Windows 7 when it comes out, we would end up paying a total of £24k!
Sure, this is cheaper than the potential £37.5k+ for the Schools Agreement, but it is ridiculous. There is no way a school the size of ours could possibly justify that cost. So, we are stuck paying over the odds on a yearly basis simply to be able to update to the next version of Windows when it comes out.
Some might ask, why not go down the Linux route? Well, the answer to that is simple - people are used to Windows. Changing, it transpires, would upset everyone, as they'd have to use new software across the school. ie. We're stuck because people would complain.
Never mind the fact that entire countries around the world have already switched their education systems to Linux, or that there are schools within the UK that already have done.
So there you have it. Microsoft have us over a barrel, to put it bluntly. We're going to look at the issue again this time next year, as the Select 3 year SA will be in force, meaning £10k will be knocked off the price, but we will have spent £7.5k this year, so will only actually save £2.5k.
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