G2009 Disaster

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If you are a government agency this is just about the worst possible outcome. Now is the time to consider alternatives to Microsoft. We must never again allow our Government to get into this situation. State Services Commission press release follows:

Outcome of G2009 Microsoft negotiations

26 May 2009

The State Services Commission today announced the government has concluded negotiations with Microsoft on a pan-government agreement for the next three years.

It became apparent during discussions that a formal agreement with Microsoft is no longer appropriate.

Microsoft have agreed to provide recommended retail price certainty for agencies as a basis for their individual negotiations, and the State Services Commission will be supporting agencies to explore how they can maximise their ICT investment and achieve greater value for money.

Since 2000 the government has negotiated a series of three-year agreements with Microsoft, enabling public sector agencies to purchase Microsoft products on an opt-in basis.

In late 2008 the State Services Commission commenced leading the re-negotiation of the G2006 Microsoft agreement on behalf of government agencies, and established an advisory steering committee comprised of senior executives from the largest IT purchasers in the public sector.

Contact: Marian Mortensen, State Services Commission: 04 495 6620 or 021 2441475


At the time, I felt it would be extremely hard if not impossible to regain user trust and I think I was right. Microsoft tends to be its own worst enemy, something the open-source movement is able to amplify with ease. The media coverage around the G2009 negotiations is a case in point.

What's interesting to note, however, is how little trust and credibility Microsoft is able to bring to bear in this battle. Microsoft has some good and clever people working for them in NZ that I rate highly. They're not zealots, most use open source and participate in discussions openly and frankly, but the M sign on their foreheads means they're hobbled from the beginning in every argument.

dave's picture

An excellent resource, Guy! You've summed up and dispelled all the common support misconceptions parroted by uninformed CIOs and business owners (and happily perpetuated by proprietary firms in their ultimately futile fight against open source). I plan to link to that from our open source business' site.


Dependence on a Microsoft monoculture does seem very high in government IT, but the collapse of G2009 could be the opportunity open source advocates have been looking for. Microsoft will still be dominant, but open source could gain critical mass. And once that occurs, it is onwards and upwards year upon year.

Does this mean that government institutions will continue to buy Microsoft software, but at inflated prices? It would be marvellous to see a shift towards using more OSS in the public sector, but given such a heavy investment in MS technologies in the last decade I would imagine the transition would be slow.