In March 2020 Microsoft made a generous gift to the NHS, UK’s national health service, by offering them a free license to Microsoft Teams.

At the times Microsoft said:

“Microsoft is fully committed to assisting the NHS at this incredibly challenging time. The use of Microsoft Teams will ensure the hardworking doctors, nurses and support staff across all NHS organisations have the collaboration tools they need to carry out their vital work. We are hugely appreciative of their ongoing efforts to tackle COVID-19 and will continue to provide support however best we can.”

Now the UK Government is apparently looking the gift horse in the mouth, after rivals complained that it is hurting their competitiveness.

‘This looks like “NHSwashing” to rival companies – gaining lucrative leverage over health infrastructure under the guise of charity,’ a source complained.

‘Microsoft may have claimed to save the NHS millions of staff hours – but the price will be much higher later on down the line.

‘Their licence renewals will not only be incredibly expensive. but it will be too late to find a system that is cheaper and frankly better. This “NHSwashing” is a useful distraction, but the Microsoft anti-trust case is growing.’

The complaints have caused Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng’s department to open up an investigation into what has been called a ‘takeover by stealth’ of the NHS’s IT systems, with the department confirming that they are looking at whether Microsoft’s business practices had raised anti-competition issues.

Microsoft is already a subject of a similar complaint in the EU by Slack, who accused Microsoft of taking over the market by bundling Teams with Office for free.

Supporters have however noted that rival systems are not secure enough for sensitive medical applications, and that Microsoft’s solution has performed better than home-grown rivals overall, with the NHS having several failed IT projects under its belt over the last two decades.

via the Daily Mail

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