Microsoft revises terms for UK gov’t software licenses

Faced with prospect of losing national and local U.K. governments as customers, Microsoft Corp. has offered new software licensing terms as part of its negotiations with government representatives, the company confirmed Tuesday.

“We have received a new offer, though it’s confidential and I’m not at liberty to reveal the details. We do hope to reach the next stage by the end of the month,” said Bob Griffith, national secretary for the Society of Information Technology Management (SOCITM), the group representing local government IT workers.

Microsoft in the U.K. confirmed that the SOCITM as well as the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), which is representing the government on a national level, had been sent revised offers, though she too declined to outline any details. “We are currently in negotiations with the OGC regarding their licensing agreements. The details of these discussions are customer confidential,” said Liz Gent, a spokeswoman for Microsoft.

Last November, OGC revealed that it was in talks with Microsoft over a single contract to supply its Office and Windows software to the country’s 497,600 public servants. The OGC said that under its new licensing program, Microsoft was looking to raise fees on government contracts by between 50 per cent to 200 per cent and that the government had not ruled out the idea of ending its contract with Microsoft to find cheaper software elsewhere if a deal could not be reached.

At the time, Martin Day, a spokesman for the OGC, said that the U.K. government currently spends approximately