Microsoft: UK

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Microsoft's Involvement with UK Public Services


The UK's National Health Service has a nine-year licensing deal with Microsoft, claiming that it will amount to savings of £330 million. The discount come from the licensing fee but is suspicious, as the NHS was not paying this fee in the first place.

The December announcement was followed by a Bill Gates summit with Richard Granger, the IT director general for the NHS and Secretary of State for Health John Reid. This meeting was followed by discussions between Granger and Microsoft CEO Steven A. Ballmer which ultimately lead to the deal.

The contract, in effect, ties the NHS into a single supplier for desktops, and in that sense flies in the face of advice from the Office of Government Commerce in its OSS report to :"determine whether current technologies and IT policies inhibit future choice; and if so consider what steps may be necessary to prevent future 'lock in'". The OGC has been evaluating open source precisely because it needs government departments to have an alternative to Microsoft.

This standardisation is effectively eliminating smaller suppliers, for example EMIS who claim that although they produced the most widely-used GP system they have been unable to gain contracts with any of the five English Local Service Providers (LSPs) for the NPfIT, claiming that

"The conditions that would have been imposed on it were "untenable." In a letter stating its position the company claims the "NPfIT is intent on standardising NHS I.T not by encouraging innovation and competition but by monopolising the market place..." [1]

UK Executives

Gordon Frazer | Neil Thompson | Nick Barley | Sharon Baylay | Steve Dunn | Scott Dodds | Andy Watson | Matthew Bishop | Tery Smith | Chris Parker | Alison Dodd | Bronwyn Kunhardt | David Gartenberg


  1. Lettice, J (2004) One Standard, One Microsoft - How the NHS Sold its Choice The Register8th November accessed 22/03/07