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The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), has named Apple, PC World and Vieglen among the companies that have won contracts to supply software to schools and Local Education Authorities.

Under the framework agreement, the schools are not required to buy from one of the approved suppliers, but if they don't, they will be expected to demonstrate that they have negotiated a better deal elsewhere.

The companies will all feature in the Software Licensing catalogue, which is designed to give schools and LEAs an idea of what constitutes a good deal when buying software licenses. The catalogue lists a range of software licenses, both proprietary and open source, and other services, such as technical support and license management.

Becta invited companies to bid for the framework deals back in October 2004. At the time, Becta's chief executive, Owen Lynch, remarked that some resellers were charging schools more for supplying software than was being spent on developing it.

He added: "In these circumstances Becta believes there is clearly scope to deliver further significant savings to schools by improving aggregation and reducing costs in the supply chain across a range of products. That is why we have taken action."

The approved companies are listed in the Becta press release, which you can read here. ®

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