While the US giant’s productivity suite, Microsoft Office has been scoring flaring profits all across the globe, it just received a major setback in the war against Google. Ministers over at the United Kingdom are eager to cut costs by replacing this “oligopolistic” software with free alternatives, such as OpenOffice and Google Docs.
This cost cutting comes after the government realized that it has spent over £200m on purchasing the Office suite since 2010. “The software we use in government is still supplied by just a few large companies. A tiny oligopoly dominates the marketplace,” said Francis Maude, a Cabinet Office minister.
“I want to see a greater range of software used, so civil servants have access to the information they need and can get their work done without having to buy a particular brand of software,” Maude explains
Switching a particular cash draining software with its free alternatives will help tie up government departments and the general public in a much simpler way, Maude believes. “In the first instance, this will help departments to do something as simple as share documents with each other more easily. But it will also make it easier for the public to use and share government information.”
Besides, the change will also ensure the growth of small software firms. “But be in no doubt: the adoption of compulsory standards in government threatens to break open Whitehall’s lock-in to proprietary formats. In turn we will open the door for a host of other software providers.
“We weren’t just missing out on innovation, we were paying top dollar for yesterday’s technology.” Maude concludes. “We saved taxpayers a whopping 98.5%. I don’t think we can make savings of that scale everywhere but hard-working people expect us to try as hard as we possibly can.”
Editors note: The title has been updated to reflect that the UK government is planning on dropping Office, but has yet to do so. According to a report from The Verge, the UK Government has been toying with the idea for a while now.Further reading: Office