Capita, MS push Win2k to schools market

Deal develops new site and tackles piracy

Microsoft has signed a deal to help it flog Windows 2000 to British schools. The software giant today hooked up with outsourcing company Capita Group to offer a range of online services through an education portal. As part of the deal, Microsoft and Capita will jointly develop a site for the education market -- called education.uk.com, according to the FT -- due to launch later this year. The site will aim to cut administrative and bureaucracy costs to schools by offering online financial management systems and staff recruitment -- services already offered by Capita. It will also let parents make daily checks on their kids via the Internet, instead of having to wait for termly reports. Plus teachers will be able to get access to training online. In return, Capita will "encourage" the British schools currently using its administrative software to switch to Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 2000. Not only could this boost Microsoft sales -- Capita provides software to 23,000 out of 24,500 schools in the UK and works for 156 of the 178 Local Education Authorities -- but it may also help solve one of its worst piracy problems. Last month it was revealed that the UK education market is a hotbed for software counterfeiting. Microsoft is desperately trying to stop this, and has fitted the new operating system with several anti-piracy tools. Capita netted 17 per cent of its 1999 revenues -- about £55 million -- from the education market. The education sector accounts for ten per cent of Microsoft's software sales in the UK. ® Related stories Registration Wizard casts spell on Office 2000 Truants rewarded with £1K notebooks Linux groups expected to rally for Y2K launch

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