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To the tune of £900m, group claims

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Microsoft's new software pricing policy has sparked trade body The Infrastructure Forum (TIF) to complain formally to the DTi. This comes on top of a similar complaint and letter earlier in the month by the British Computer Society's forum for IT directors, Elite; Imis, the IT management professional body; and Socitm, a local government IT managers' group.

TIF claims that the Beast of Redmond's new policy of forcing companies to buy new software every time they upgrade their systems will cause a 94 per cent increase in the cost of Microsoft licences (although this is a reduction from the 130 per cent it quoted a month and a bit ago).

This will cost its members - which include such giants as the BBC, BP, Argos, Cadbury Schweppes, Dixons, Marks & Spencer, GlaxoSmithKline, Shell, the list goes on - £880 million over the next four years,TIF wrote in its letter to Trade Secretary Patricia Hewitt. It asks that she refer the company to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

TIF chief exec David Roberts makes the wider point that MS' new policy will damage UK businesses: "This money has not been budgeted for by organisations, so where will it be found? Does Microsoft realise the damaging impact its pricing policy could have on British business?"

TIF's members together spend £18 billion a year on IT. As one of the alternative routes it can go down if the Beast fails to listen, it lists "Workshop on Alternatives to Microsoft (Open to Visitors)" and "Workgroup to Investigate Migration Strategies for alternatives to Microsoft".

Not what Microsoft really needs. ®

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