UK Government Planning To Switch From Microsoft Office To Open Source To Cut Costs

Microsoft Office 365

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.

Why government agencies choose Microsoft Office 365

Office 365 vs Google Apps

Office 365gov

Source: The Guardian

  • Termin8ed

    Penny wise, pound foolish.

    • GG002

      Don’t worry, they’ll be back.

      • techieg

        What happened to the EU government when they tried? They rushed back after royal failure of productivity.

  • tofferne

    Stupid idea, it will only bring problems, in the end they need to change back.

  • Michael-Patrick Richter


  • EU citizen

    Germany, France, Portugal are already using open source. This was just a matter of time.

  • Joe_HTH

    They’re going to spend a hell of a lot more for support on far worse productivity suites that have no support.

  • nadako

    Just wait they will get hacked sooner or later than make the switch back. Governments shouldnt be using open source because it is less secure.

  • first name

    This is your typical hair brained scheme from a conservative government; training costs alone will end up being more than the discounted licensing fee.

  • Bugbog

    That idiot is one to talk? “..Small number of large companies; a tiny oligopoly”


    How many contracts across a wide range of sectors have the government awarded to G4? From transporting prisoners, to running Prisons and Detention centers, and any number of other Services. Heck, they’re even becoming embedded in Police stations!

    And she has the gall to state that with a straight face!