Feeds

Becta throws shroud over Microsoft deal

Vista adoption in schools 'high risk'

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bono apologises for iTunes album dump
Megalomania, generosity and FEAR of irrelevance drove group to Apple deal
HBO shocks US pay TV world: We're down with OTT. Netflix says, 'Gee'
This affects every broadcaster, every cable guy
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
SCREW YOU, EU: BBC rolls out Right To Remember as Google deletes links
Not even Google can withstand the power of Auntie
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
10 Top Tips For PRs Considering Whether To Phone The Register
You'll Read These And LOL Even Though They're Serious
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
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.