Lawmaker blasts U.K. government for ceding too much control to Microsoft

“A member of Parliament of the United Kingdom has launched a stinging attack on the U.K. government’s IT strategy, saying that it has given Microsoft too much control,” Colin Barker reports for CNET.

“John Pugh, who is a member of Parliament, or MP, for Southport and a member of the Public Accounts Committee, was speaking in an adjournment debate on Tuesday that he had called. The aim of the debate, he said, was to explore the alternatives to using Microsoft software, including open source,” Barker reports.

“The current U.K. government strategy has left too much in the hands of Microsoft, Pugh argued, and he accused the company of ‘predatory pricing and stultifying competition,” Barker reports. “He said that the U.K. government’s policy ‘is, in part, in breach of European Union regulations’ on competition.”

Barker reports, “The government’s strategy hits the poorest hardest, Pugh said. ‘Why should people on benefits have to use Vista when it costs hundreds of pounds and there are cheaper open-source solutions available?’ he asked. ‘Why should people have to use Vista rather than Apple [Mac], for that matter?’

Barker reports, “In November 2006, Pugh called for a ‘level playing-field in software,’ arguing that the government was favoring Microsoft above other companies.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: John Pugh for President, er… Prime Minister! Aw, screw that, just crown him King John and be done with it!

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Adam W.” for the heads up.]


  1. Hear! Hear!

    It’s not only the British government that is at fault here, but the US government as well.

    With the reliance on Windows comes not only a ton of support problems, but big time security problems as well.

    Windows is so easy to hack into it’s not funny.

    Teenage kids kids all ’round the world are hacking our stuff and countries like China, North Korea, Russia…and some of our “allies” have real pros that are very good at breaking into our commercial and government networks to steal secrets and to probe for vulnerabilities.

    Having our government and commercial infrastructure
    dependent on Windows is akin to putting screen doors on all our submarines…and Fort Knox to boot!

    The Mac OS is damn secure and in 23 years I’ve have had no problems.

    I suppose that it will have to hit the fan in a big way before people will wake up.

  2. Yup Wil, I sent email to the White House about the
    matter once.

    (I hate the word “issue”…it sounds so sissy.)

    All I got back was that the prez “would take my comments under advisement.”

    That was Clinton.

    Same stuff, different president.

  3. Reclaimer: “I suppose that it will have to hit the fan in a big way before people will wake up.”

    I doubt even that will work. I remember a few years ago when our very large agency was hit by the Sasser worm. Our Exchange servers were offline for remediation, so word had to be spread by phone to shut down all Windows boxes. The anti-virus servers themselves were similarly out of service. The firewalls running Windows had to be shut down for the same reason; those running Solaris were unaffected. Linux, Mac and Sun boxes were unaffected. We spent the next several days doing remediation.

    The end result? Business as usual, but with more active monitoring. Exchange is still the standard. Sun/Oracle is still being phased out in favor of Windows, SQL Server and .Net. Procurement blocks the purchase of new Macs.

    As to the UK story? Recall that the same Dept of Justice suing Microsoft was even then enforcing Windows and Office as desktop standards.

  4. Raymond, I suppose you are right. And I suppose what Charleston says is true as well.

    I we’ll will have to be satisfied with the solace of being right about a few things.

    It’s not like there isn’t a better way available.

    I still hated to see those poor souls at NASA getting screwed out of their Macs a few years ago….

  5. Another Brit here that is also sick of the amount of money the Government gives blindly to Micro$oft.

    I wonder if, when the defence system fails, Ballmer will say to Gordon Brown “wait till Windows Defence 3.0 SP2, it’s our best version ever!”

  6. Yeah, I really don’t understand why our government and national institutions are in Microsoft’s pockets.

    It’s ridiculous.

    They should give Macs to those in the government who need to produce important stuff and Linux boxes to all other civil servants that just need web, email and basic officey stuff. Save us some tax.

  7. for a year ive been complaining that i can’t access my food stamp account from anything but windows creating a situations where i have to go to a library and can;t use phone while in front of the computer to call support for filling out forms or whatever.

    (in fact i have determined that and that can take out my phone ad hod it to me head and get virtually attacked by library staff. fun! am i an anarchist, or what. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

    suddenly this week, it works on mac!

    mw = paid, as in i’ll pay anything to me her. no no wait, as in you paid taxes?

  8. I get the impression that at last more people in government are beginning to wake up to the fact that MS is running them not the other way round. The problem in the UK is that the government appoints ‘consultants’ who, surprise surprise are all in MS pocket. As a result everything revolves round Windows. The BBC is the same until they were called on it by the regulator.

    In the EU there are mutterings that the PC should be sold as a box, with the OS as a separate purchase in order to foster competition. Frankly I doubt this will make a lot of difference but it would make the cost of the OS more visible.

    What does surprise me is that none of the Tier 1 vendors has taken a leaf out of Apple’s book and come up with a well designed PC running an variant of Linux (tuned to the hardware) with a Windows lookalike interface and a software bundle of OSS apps similar to those offered on a Mac. Everything you need in a cheap(ish) box.

    With the backing of a big outfit such as IBM or HP and a major retailer this would certainly be doable.

    Reference to an earlier post I remember a couple of years back when the whole of my University was taken down for three days by a worm. Unfortunately Bill smiles on them and offers them kudos for MS training, so they still go the MS way and are about to roll out Vista.

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