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Dutch military defies MS Enterprise ban

Open standards govt sidestepped

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The Dutch Ministry of Defence intends to sign a large (6500 seat) Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft for the use of Windows XP, MS Office and several of Microsoft's servers despite a government ban on such renewals, Dutch IT weekly Automatisering Gids disclosed last Friday.

Although the Dutch parliament in 2002 voted unanimously to adopt open standards, Microsoft last year opened exclusive negotiations with the Dutch government regarding a major software upgrade. When it turned out that the government had negotiated a price of €120 per seat per year for 250,000 desktops (a deal that would total €150m), the Dutch parliament demanded that the negotiations should stop immediately. It was also agreed that the government would no longer enter into any Enterprise Agreements with Microsoft.

The Defence department cites "financial and functional reasons" for the renewal, as well as Microsoft's active involvement with the Defense IT infrastructure project MULAN. ®

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