Feeds

Public sector urged to think Microsoft

Online marketplace counters open source threat

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Microsoft has upped the ante in its pursuit of public-service contracts by launching an online marketplace, as the company counters the open source threat. Governments across Europe will be able to select technology vendors specialising in public sector development projects, following an announcement by Microsoft on Monday.

The software giant also revealed it has been working with consultancy firm Accenture to offer customisable sets of software, strategies and best practices tailored to the needs of public-sector organisations. The blueprints, which are based on the Microsoft.NET platform, will be available for several operational areas including tax and revenue and human services.

As part of a day-long event in London devoted to the company's initiatives in the public sector and education, Microsoft Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) also launched four Schools Technology Innovation Centres, which are being opened to help teachers use information communications technology (ICT) and technical learning tools in the classroom.

"Typically, it can take months for governments to find the right solution provider with the right combination of ICT skills and services," said Pete Hayes, Microsoft EMEA's vice president of public sector. "With the Public Sector Partner Marketplace, governments can identify qualified vendors in minutes."

The online marketplace will bring together public sector customers and technology vendors in a Web forum specifically geared towards Microsoft-based solutions for government and agencies. Scheduled to launch at Tech Ed Europe, which starts on 29 June, the Public Sector Partner Marketplace will include listings of independent software vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators (SIs), as well as their offerings, organised by location, language and solution category.

Monday's announcement follows news of another agreement just inked by Microsoft and BearingPoint, the consulting company. BearingPoint has already cooperated with Microsoft on a number of major e-government implementations, including a retirement benefits system for the state of Florida and for teachers in Georgia. The two firms said their emphasis would be on building "repeatable enterprise solutions" for various aspects of e-government, and will cooperate in areas including technical training, solutions co-development and pre-sales support.

Such initiatives can been seen as an attempt to halt potential erosion of market share as Microsoft counters the threat from open source software (OSS). Public sector bodies of all sizes across the globe have been the most aggressive in testing OSS.

This is the case in Britain, where the government is among Microsoft's largest UK customers. Experts consider OSS tests carried out by the authority a significant threat to the company's UK public-sector business.

Locally, the Information Society Minister, Mary Hanafin, used the Irish Software Association's annual conference in April to throw doubt on the use of OSS, emphasising "open standards" instead. She indicated that since OSS is "open to amendment and reconfiguration", the long-term cost of using it in Irish e-government projects may be too great.

The comments drew an angry response from several proponents of OSS, who argue the statement is not consistent with European policy.

© ENN

Related stories

MS preps new Shared Source challenge to OSS?
UK Gov's open source mandate policy attacked
Microsoft, Sun, IBM and the war for government desktops
MPs call for Gov.uk to switch to open source (maybe)
Open source 'too costly' for Irish e-gov

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
GCHQ protesters stick it to British spooks ... by drinking urine
Activists told NOT to snap pics of staff at the concrete doughnut
Britain's housing crisis: What are we going to do about it?
Rent control: Better than bombs at destroying housing
Top beak: UK privacy law may be reconsidered because of social media
Rise of Twitter etc creates 'enormous challenges'
What do you mean, I have to POST a PHYSICAL CHEQUE to get my gun licence?
Stop bitching about firearms fees - we need computerisation
Ex US cybersecurity czar guilty in child sex abuse website case
Health and Human Services IT security chief headed online to share vile images
We need less U.S. in our WWW – Euro digital chief Steelie Neelie
EC moves to shift status quo at Internet Governance Forum
Oz biz regulator discovers shared servers in EPIC FACEPALM
'Not aware' that one IP can hold more than one Website
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.