Policy Matters

Becta takes Microsoft school policy to OFT

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The British Educational and Technological Agency (Becta) has reported Microsoft to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) after negotiations with the software giant over schools' software licences reached stalemate.

Earlier Becta warned that schools should not sign software licensing deals with Microsoft because of the computer giant's alleged anti-competitive practices. Becta complained to the Office of Fair Trading, saying talks have not resolved its concerns about academic licensing of the company's Windows Office 2007 and Vista operating systems. Thousands of schools already use Microsoft software but Becta claims that new licensing arrangements are too restrictive. Microsoft insists that schools pay for a licence for every PC on the premises which might use its software, regardless of whether teachers plan to do so at the time of signing a contract. Microsoft said that it would continue working to enable as many schools as possible to benefit from its technology at the best possible price.

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