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Microsoft will ‘bend far’ to ensure UK government still uses its software

CBR - Following Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude's comments last week on plans to move government IT away from Microsoft Office software, an IT consulting expert has told CBR that "a switch to open source alternatives would consume both the already-stretched IT service resources and the time (and probably more importantly the patience) of users."

Mark Foden of Foden Grealy, a change management consultancy who support IT change programs in the UK government, said: "I don't know what the licensing situation is but I should think that Microsoft will bend far to ensure that their software continues to be used.

"It would take will to make the change. I guess we will see new types of licensing deals - perhaps with Office software bundled differently with other products - and probably a reduction in cost but I don't envisage a rapid, widespread switch."

Foden did point out, however, that it may not necessarily be a total shift away from Microsoft Office, but rather a refinement of document standards.

"I'd say the important thing is that it is document standards that are being specified not the software. Presuming that Microsoft update their software to make it easy to use the open formats then I imagine that departments won't need to do anything until existing licensing deals expire."