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EU Bodies Plan Upgrade to Windows 7 Without Public Tender

PCW - The European Commission has been accused of favoritism in handing out its IT contracts as it looks set to move internal IT systems to Microsoft Windows 7 without holding a public tender.

At a secret meeting last December, Commission civil servants agreed in principle to upgrade more than 36,000 desktop computers in European institutions to Windows 7 without holding a public tender. The proposed move could tie the Commission to Microsoft for the next four to five years, flying in the face of the Commission's own advice to avoid public procurement lock-in.

Many supporters of open standards, have been outraged by the Commission's action. "Europe is in danger of rapidly becoming a laggard in this march towards open and fully interoperable computer systems. While some national and regional governments from around Europe have made impressive moves in the right direction, the European Commission remains wedded to a single, closed operating system and shows no signs of even considering an open alternative," said Paul Meller, spokesman for Open Forum Europe.