Becta Admonishes Schools Against Microsoft Licensing Liaisons

2 minute read
Angela Natividad avatar
Apparently the open source crowd isn't the only circle suffering from pinched toes, courtesy of Microsoft.Becta, the education technology branch of the UK, has just filed a complaint with the Office of Fair Trading regarding Microsoft's "anti-competitive practices" in the academic software license sector.Becta and Microsoft have been in fruitless talks since January. Until they reach some kind of resolution, Becta maintains that schools avoid the Microsoft School Agreement licensing program, which keeps schools up to date on software updates and manages licenses attributed to an institution.The School Agreement licensing program boasts what Ars Technica calls an all-or-nothing requirement, which necessitates all PCs on a given campus be included in the program, including those that aren't Office '07 or Vista ready.The licensing arrangement also prevents parents, schools and students from using alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite, even if those alternatives are free.Office '07 lacks sufficient support for the OpenDocument Format utilized by OpenOffice. Becta also rules that Vista's suite of features isn't sufficiently life-changing to justify an upgrade. Other concerns are also listed in a report Becta published last January.The organization expects that muscling down on Microsoft will "imply effective support by Microsoft of the internationally approved ODF file format." Schools are encouraged to utilize Office '07 only "when its interoperability with alternative products is satisfactory," according to a terse release from Becta on the matter.Last summer the Linux Foundation joined forces against Microsoft, which attempted to sue the community for patent infringement, excepting open source distributors that agreed to develop strategic relationships with the company.

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