Speaking to The Guardian, UK Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude revealed that UK government is planning to switch its productivity suite from Microsoft Office to some Open source solutions. UK government spends tens of millions of pounds a year to Microsoft and other software companies for using their software and they are looking to cut those costs. He believes that costs would come down by switching to software which can produce open-source files in the “open document format” (ODF), such as OpenOffice and Google Docs. I agree with OpenOffice in his argument, but Google Docs?
Speaking at a cross-government event showcasing new online services on Wednesday, Maude will say: “The software we use in government is still supplied by just a few large companies. A tiny oligopoly dominates the marketplace.
“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.
“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.
“So we have been talking to users about the problems they face when they read or work with our documents – and we have been inviting ideas from experts on how to solve these challenges.”
After his comments, I want to know what version of Microsoft Office and collaboration solution does UK government uses everyday? The recent versions of Microsoft Office suite has one of the best set of experience for collaboration. Also, switching vendors should not be just for cost sake, there is more to it.
Read from the below links on why government agencies choose Office 365 over Google Docs and other alternatives. Someone should pass this on to that minister.
Source: The Guardian