Microsoft cuts fees for schools

Microsoft has announced it will be cutting the prices of its software licences, saving users between 20 and 37 per cent of their software spend -- but only for schools. A "memorandum of understanding" has been signed between the software giant and the British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta) to cut the licensing fees, which the two are predicting will save English schools around £46m over three years, with those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland saving between £2.5-3m. The aim of the deal isn't to change schools' buying habits apparently -- they are still free to purchase the software of their choice, although the reductions might be difficult to resist for cash-strapped institutions -- but the scheme will cut down the expense for those that opt for Microsoft products.

The deal will take effect from 1 January 2004, having been agreed after "complex and difficult negotiations". David Burrows, Microsoft's director of education, told that the software giant is simply acknowledging the importance of the education software market. "Education invests a lot in ICT and they weren't persuaded it was best value... the deal is recognition of resources being tight and the value of the market. It's a good deal for us and a good deal for schools," he said.

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News source: ZDNet UK

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