MICROSOFT'S NEARLY nine-year old blanket software licencing deal with the New Zealand government has apparently collapsed.
In a statement, the State Services Commission (SSC) said that negotiations for another three-year extension of the agreement failed when it "became apparent during discussions that a formal agreement with Microsoft is no longer appropriate."
SSC spokesperson Marian Mortensen said the government looked for value for money, fitness for purpose and strategic benefit in its negotiations. "We didn't feel we got the appropriate levels of benefit from the negotiations," she said.
Don Christie, chair of the New Zealand Open Source Society, said that failure of the SSC's negotiations with Microsoft could provide new opportunities for more use of open source software in government.
"Everyone right now should be running pilots and evaluating open source up and down the stack," he said. He also faulted government agency IT managers for not having explored open source software alternatives previously.
New Zealand's SSC has pioneered the use of open standards and open source software within Kiwi government, winning an open source award last year.
The organisation said it will be "supporting agencies to explore how they can maximise their ICT investment and achieve greater value for money."
Mortensen said open source will be "part of the mix, definitely," but added it will be up individual government agencies to make their own decisions. µ
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