When is a saving not a saving? (plus ça change)

We were not particularly whelmed that the government used the threat of adopting open source software simply as a bargaining tool to get a few Microsoft licences free of charge. Particularly as we think it amounts to illegal state aid. However, given that the government has just announced it has saved £65m on software licence negotiations with Microsoft and Oracle we mustn’t grumble…

But has it?

As others have put it “Is Francis Maude starting to spin – without realising it?”

Leaving aside the deconstruction by Mark Ballard UK saves 5 quid on Oracle let’s examine the the Microsoft savings:

According to Microsoft, Cabinet Office valiantly fought off a price increase which the last I checked is not a saving.

But there’s more:

Microsoft have just increased the cost of licences to charities that are more than 90% public funded (which is a big budget according to some and set to increase, according to Francis Maude)

These charities are actually private bodies exercising public functions which, if you are against illegal state aid (see above), makes the licence fee rises entirely reasonable. And indeed if you are using proprietary software you should pay the licence fees.

But has the government saved any money? In overall terms it would seem that the money flowing to Microsoft will increase.

— Gerry Gavigan, Chair, 28 June 2012

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