Feeds

Becta throws shroud over Microsoft deal

Vista adoption in schools 'high risk'

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) has signed a secrecy clause with Microsoft which prevents it from disclosing the prices schools are paying for software licences.

Figures released by the Department for Education and Skills show that in 2005-06 schools spent £615m on ICT, including Microsoft products. But when Conservative MP Brooks Newmark asked the government for details of purchasing agreements with Microsoft, schools minister Jim Knight said the information is confidential.

"This information is the subject of legally binding non-disclosure arrangements and excludes estimates in relation to Original Equipment Manufacturer licences," Knight said.

Becta said its licensing agreement with Microsoft establishes significant savings for schools across the UK choosing to use its products. In December 2006 the agency extended its original three year Memorandum of Understanding with the company for a further 12 months.

"Depending on the mix of products purchased, schools should be spending between 20 per cent and 37 per cent less than might have been expected in the absence of the Becta Microsoft Memorandum of Understanding," said Becta.

Steve Beswick, Microsoft's director of education, said in a statement: "We believe our solutions offer real value for money. Microsoft offers free support and training materials to teachers and IT coordinators as well as a range of education programmes in the UK which are designed to help teachers and students make the most of their technology."

Becta is understood to have raised concerns, however, that Microsoft is tying schools into using its software with onerous buy-out conditions.

In January 2007 Becta said that early adoption of Microsoft's new Vista software involved "high risk" and did not recommend its early adoption in schools. The costs of a widespread deployment of Vista are currently estimated to be around £160m while the benefits are unclear, according to Becta.

The agency said Microsoft should arrange pilot projects to clarify what the benefits of deploying Vista in the education sector would be and how much it would cost.

Following the outcome of discussions with Microsoft and a range of stakeholders, Becta will produce a final report with recommendations by January 2008.

This article was originally published at Kablenet.

Kablenet's GC weekly is a free email newsletter covering the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. To register click here.

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
JINGS! Microsoft Bing called Scots indyref RIGHT!
Redmond sporran metrics get one in the ten ring
Driving with an Apple Watch could land you with a £100 FINE
Bad news for tech-addicted fanbois behind the wheel
Murdoch to Europe: Inflict MORE PAIN on Google, please
'Platform for piracy' must be punished, or it'll kill us in FIVE YEARS
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
Sony says year's losses will be FOUR TIMES DEEPER than thought
Losses of more than $2 BILLION loom over troubled Japanese corp
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.