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05.15.08

BECTA: Still All About Microsoft

Posted in Antitrust, Europe, Microsoft, Office Suites, Windows at 9:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Secret deals, intimate relationships

BECTA, the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, should be considered among those who are largely responsible for turning an entire nation into a Microsoft workshop [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. We mentioned its complaint several days ago (further mentioned in [1, 2]), but at the end, unsurprisingly, it gave up to what the following article calls “the convicted software monopolist.”

Becta, the UK quango governing technology spending in education, swept the licensing issue under the carpet in order to sign a new three-year deal with Microsoft, the convicted software monopolist, last month.

[...]

During 2007, when the 2004 MOU extension was operating, Becta complained about Microsoft’s licensing practices and technology to the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, and advised schools not to upgrade to Vista and Office 2007, Microsoft’s latest software.

Yet Becta had no choice but to sign a new agreement with Microsoft, said Ian Lynch, who campaigns for open source software in schools with the Open Schools Alliance.

“In the sense that Microsoft has a monopolistic presence, Becta [still] has a remit to get the best discount it can,” he said.

“In the short term they might get the best pricing, but in the long term they might think, ‘sod this, we are going to take them to the Office of Fair Trading’,” he said.

As we stressed at he start, BECTA, like many other loyal Microsoft customers that thrive in taxpayers’ money (e.g. The British Library), is just trying to save face with its complaint. Had it wanted a solution to the problem, it would have easily found one. It’s total disinterest in change and blind obedience that continue to stand in the way and make children more dependent than ever on this “convicted software monopolist,” which locks them in using personal data (technical barrier) and skills (getting children 'addicted', having them memorise menu layouts).

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