Feeds

MS uk.gov deal wobbles as spin doctors seek revenge

Time for the horse's head in the bed?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

Microsoft's cosy relationship with the UK government may be about to go critical, thanks to a combination of outraged Unix boffins and vengeful government spin doctors. E-envoy Andrew Pinder himself seems to be back-tracking like crazy on the Microsoft connection, while cabals of Whitehall techies plot the counter-revolution. But if the Redmond Empire is rolled back, it'll likely be WinXP wot won it.

During the recent election here Microsoft's PR strategists pulled off a major coup by co-opting the Dear Leader Tony Blair for what was in effect a commercial for Windows XP. The Register's sources indicate that it is this outrage, rather than more logical issues such as whether or not Microsoft's software is any good, that's most likely to get Microsoft run out of UK government computing on a rail.

But if the cat catches mice, who cares what colour it is, quips one source. The techies, meanwhile, have been busy asking uncomfortable questions and diligently educating their masters. Procomp, the anti-MS Project to Promote Competition & Innovation in the Digital Age, seems to have been more use than we cynics at The Reg could ever have believed; its white paper Passport to Monopoly, Windows XP, Passport and the Emerging World of Distributed Applications is currently circulating in the relevant offices, and it seems to be winning some hearts and minds.

The e-Envoy himself has come under fire for his perceived closeness to Microsoft, and seems - albeit somewhat belatedly - to have decided they can't go on meeting like this, as people will start to talk. Speaking to Computing yesterday Pinder seems to have virtually rulled out using Microsoft's Hailstorm: "People expect government to be above suspicion in the way that it protects their information, and we would want to retain control of that. I don't see how that is compatible with the Hailstorm approach."

That's pretty shocking coming from the man who participated in Microsoft's UK Government Gateway announcement in Seattle, and who was down as a speaker for the Microsoft-sponsored Digital Britain conference - if indeed he did say it. His office however has yet to call us back protesting that he was misquoted, and our own enquiries indicate that no, he wasn't.

Pinder, we are told, has already come to the conclusion that Passport and Hailstorm are not appropriate for putting the UK government online, and wants that message to get out. They haven't yet been entirely ruled out, but they stand barely any chance at all of being adopted. And Microsoft seems to have ticked off other spin doctors too. The company is seen as having wildly oversold it's role in the government Gateway, which in any event is only one part of the whole project, and Pinder may well be feeling he's been stitched up in the same way Blair was.

For the moment, Microsoft is still in there, but we understand that the gateway itself is subject to a European Journal re-tendering process in a year's time. So that's 12 months for Bill's Merry Men to save the contract - but it doesn't look good... ®

Related stories:
MS-built UK 'Government Gateway' locks out non-MS browsers
e-Envoy's office defends Windows-only portal - climb down begins?
e-Envoy to speak at MS-sponsored Digital UK summit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
Be real, Apple: In-app goodie grab games AREN'T FREE – EU
Cupertino stands down after Euro legal threats
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
SLURP! Flick your TONGUE around our LOLLIPOP – Google
Android 5 is coming – IF you're lucky enough to have the right gadget
Microsoft: Your Linux Docker containers are now OURS to command
New tool lets admins wrangle Linux apps from Windows
Bada-Bing! Mozilla flips Firefox to YAHOO! for search
Microsoft system will be the default for browser in US until 2020
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.