UK government plans to replace Microsoft Office with open source | Apertura Designs

UK government plans to replace Microsoft Office with open source

In a great piece of news from The Guardian, the UK government is looking to make the switch from Microsoft Office software to open source. The drivers for the proposal include reducing their huge spend on Microsoft Office (a whopping 200 millions pounds spent since 2010), and levelling the IT supplier playing field by mandating standardised, non-proprietary file formats.*

Some salient points from the article include:

  • "Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft."
  • "Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on [Microsoft's] Office suite alone since 2010."
  • "Document formats are set to be standardised...to help break the "oligopoly" of IT suppliers, and improve communications [amongst staff]."

The UK government proposal stands to be one of the most significant cases of a large organisation seeking freedom from IT vendor lock-in and predatory business practices. And as we have highlighted in other similar reports (such as the City of Munich), new and growing businesses also stand to gain an advantage over established competitors grappling with the same problems that lead these larger organisations to fully embrace open source and open standards.

If you're looking to make the switch to open source office productivity software, we recommend Collabora LibreOffice. It's a version of LibreOffice developed specifically for business use, combined with training and support from Apertura Designs. Contact us for more information.

(*We have one clarification to make on the article's mention of Google Drive. While Google offers some support for standardised file formats, the Google Drive product itself is not open source. In addition, its native file format is non-standard and completely proprietary.)

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