THE UK GOVERNMENT has dealt a blow to Microsoft with the announcement that it will adopt open source LibreOffice software across the public sector.
The Crown Commercial Service (CCS) announced this week that the government has entered into a deal with open source software company Collabora Productivity to equip public sector organisations with its GovOffice software, based on LibreOffice, given its "considerable cost savings" compared with the likes of Microsoft Office.
Microsoft Office requires paid-for licences, but Collabora Office is free to use. The firm will instead make cash by providing technical assistance and support to the government.
"UK government buyers have signed a new commercial deal for open source office applications on desktop, mobile and cloud," CCS said in a statement.
"The Cloud Transition Agreement between the CCS and British open source software firm Collabora Productivity states the government's commitment to open source and the Open Document Format, and offers major cost savings for public sector bodies."
News of the government's switch to open source software is not likely to go down well at Microsoft, which was recently forced to defend itself as a "significant supplier" of products to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after reports claimed that the government department had dumped the firm's cloud-based apps in favour of Google's rival offering.
A Microsoft spokesperson told The INQUIRER: "HMRC has confirmed that it has decided to use some Google collaboration tools, but Microsoft remains a significant supplier of products such as Office, Exchange and other software and hardware to HMRC, as we are to the UK government and wider public sector."
The company has yet to comment on the latest blow dealt by the government. However, it it likely to have been prepared as news of the government mulling a switch to open source software emerged last month. µ
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