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Microsoft cries out to UK government against open source

It would say that
Thu Feb 20 2014, 13:43

SOFTWARE GIANT Microsoft has warned the UK government against adopting open source software, claiming that it is likely to lead to problems.

Microsoft possibly has the best intentions here, and its caution might be altruistic.

The firm is reacting to word that the UK government is looking into moving toward open source software standards to cut costs.

"You may not be aware, but the UK government is currently in the process of making important selections about which open standards to mandate the use of in future," it warns in a blog post.

"These decisions WILL likely impact you; either as a citizen of the UK, a UK business or as a company doing or wanting to do business with government."

It is the most likely looking option that is raising alarm in Redmond, or, more likely, the firm's UK offices. It said that a UK government mandate for use of the Open Document Format and the exclusion of Microsoft's proprietary Open XML 'standard' will impact both government and business.

"This move has the potential to impact businesses selling to government, who may be forced to comply. It also sets a worrying precedent because government is, in effect, refusing to support another internationally recognised open standard and may do so for other similar popular standards in the future, potentially impacting anyone who wishes to sell to Government," it said

"We believe very strongly that the current proposal is likely to increase costs, cause dissatisfaction amongst citizens and businesses, add complexity to the process of dealing with government and negatively impact some suppliers to government."

Pitchforks are called for, and Microsoft UK VP Michel Van der Bel has written an open letter to Microsoft partners with a call to arms and a combined push toward using both ODF and Open XML.

"It's worth remembering that the government is seeking responses from anyone, organisations and citizens," he added. "So it is possible for you to respond in a number of capacities".

You are offered the chance to riff on Microsoft's own lengthy, self-serving response. µ


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