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Microsoft hustled UK retreat on open standards, says leaked report

Computer Weekly - The British government withdrew its open standards policy after lobbying from Microsoft, it has been revealed in a Cabinet Office brief leaked to Computer Weekly.

The Department of Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) also formerly opposed the policy before Cabinet Office withdrew it. BIS supported Microsoft's position against open standards, the backbone of the government's ICT policy. The Business Software Alliance, infamous for its lobbying against open standards policy in Brussels, also lobbied against the government policy.

Microsoft took up direct opposition to the ICT Strategy's pledge to give preference to technologies that supported open standards of interoperability between government computer systems, said the briefing paper.

The software supplier was concerned this would prevent companies from claiming royalties on the point of exchange between those systems.

It complained specifically about the wording of UK procurement policy, which in January 2011 established a definition to explain its edict that open standards should be used in government computing wherever possible. UK policy specified that "[open standards] must have intellectual property made irrevocably available on a royalty free basis".