Tony Blair’s former UK IT chief: Gov’t should use more Apple products; end reliance on Microsoft

“Tony Blair’s former IT chief has said Labour ministers ordered expensive computer projects because they wanted their policies to ‘sound sexy,'” Brian Wheeler reports for BBC News.

“Ian Watmore – who is now in charge of a Whitehall efficiency drive – gave a scathing assessment of the previous government’s IT record,” Wheeler reports. “He told the public administration committee Labour’s procurement had been over-ambitious and badly-managed. The coalition has called a halt to big IT projects to save cash.”

Wheeler reports, “Mr Watmore, who is permanent secretary at the Cabinet Office, said some of the high profile IT ‘fiascos’ under the previous government had not been down to defective technology but to poor project management and badly-defined policies… Mr Watmore, who claims to have already saved £2bn in Whitehall efficiencies, said he wants to end the UK government’s reliance on Microsoft products, which are used by about 90% of civil servants… His ‘personal’ view, he added, was that Apple products, which he said he used at home, should also be used more in government.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: 🙂

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Readers “John D.,” “Blairmc,” “TomCS,” “Max M.,” “MCCFR,” “Macintosher,” and “Brother Mugga” for the heads up.]


    1. if apple’s demise were a coffin, moves like this would be a lumberjack sizing-up trees that would become the timber that would be milled and cut into planks into which the last nail of said coffin would be hammered.

      We don’t need no stinkin’ ubiquity and wide spread acceptance!

    1. The Register’s article on the subject is here.

      I normally agree with a lot of what you write, but you’re wrong or certainly overstating any perceived animosity towards Apple here in the UK.

      The UK is one of Apple’s largest markets outside of the US which is why Apple Europe came back to London after being based in Paris for years and there are now around 30 Apple Stores in the UK, more than the rest of Europe put together.

      Don’t confuse what you might read in the UK media with the reality of Apple’s performance here. Also try and get served at any Apple Store at the weekend, it’s bedlam.

      1. I agree with mccfr, ChrissyOne. And I too normally agree with you. But as a Brit living in the US, I can tell you that Apple products are generally very well thought of in the UK. The only negative perception is one of cost. I think the halo effect of the iPod and the iPhone has done wonders for Mac products too.

        1. The Reg has had stunningly positive reviews of iPhones and iPads, including one last week. They even ran a sort of humorous ‘Steve Jobs stole my wife’s cash … But I love it’ story about iPad 2 a couple of days ago.

          They’ve also given highly positive reviews to Mac hardware.

          Their readers comments are quite anti Apple though, but it’s a site for “techies” and is populated by Windows system administrators and Linux heads who both moan about Apple.

        2. You have nothing to apologise, you were not too far off with your initial take. It might be convenient to lay the blame solely on the media, but the sad truth is, English tech consumers and the academia were mostly reactionaries, mimicking their DOS game trotting OEM happy Yank cousins before the early interweb boom. Best way to act tech savvy (or smug) is through trashing the “Apple sheep”. That sense of inferiority complex still plays a role here (though MS had been replaced by the “tech extraordinaire” and “open” Google for awhile); claiming otherwise might be a tad disingenuous.

    2. Part of Britain’s BIzzArO relationship with Windows is due to the BBC focusing on the platform as its own in officially sanctioned hardware and software. Lots of Windows sufferers grew up learning computing via the BBC on the regressive platform.

      There is also the general perception, both fact and fiction, that Macs cost a lot more in Europe than in the USA.

  1. It’s no exaggeration that there is indeed a great deal of blind hatred of Apple in the UK, mostly down to the complete ignorance of the general Windows-using unwashed, which is fed to them by an army of IT Managers that know only too well that more Apple products, means less jobs for them.

    I run a design studio (dozen or so Macs) in a large Windows PC-based company and almost every time a new person begins employment, I usually get something like the following:

    “That’s a funny computer, what version of Windows does that run then?”

    or, “I thought Apple’s could only use Apple monitors, and Apple printers”

    or, “you use Photoshop? you really ought to use Paint as it’s loads better”

    The Mac studio never breaks down, and needs no support from the (10 staff and growing) IT department, – they grudgingly accept our existence, but most of the time pretend we aren’t there.

    A few iPhones and iPads have crept in to the company, brought in by staff of course, much to the anger of these computer ‘experts’. The tide is turning and they are very worried.

  2. Absolutely the worst advice I’ve ever read. Little toy MACs will be compromised and taken down in a heartbeat. The only reason you haven’t heard of viruses for MAC is because there are only a handful of them out there, mainly props in movies and TV shows.

    If computer users don’t know how to edit the registry and stay vigilant when it comes to installing and updating virus, spyware and malware detection software then maybe they shouldn’t be using computers. Besides, MACs don’t have a registry.

    1. Brilliant take Zune Tang – one of your best. Loved the ‘props in movies and tv shows’ line. Amazed there are people who think you are being serious – that’s almost as funny.

  3. 90%! Even after all this time, they are still buying and using MS based POS… Thats the power of the monopoly and thats why these idiots from the other side will say anything to keep that lock in. No matter how stupid they sound to people who know the truth. Sadly thats just the 10% of us…the rest are just led along by the MS hypnotizers… and they say Steve RDF is powerful.

  4. I am of the U of K and I have seen this bitter raining piss of we want to have something to complain about baldershite,

    Yet have seen at the same time Crapitas and Accentury (time to deliver) continually cost millions and continually be shyt.

    Like there’s a conspiracy of ineptitude from stem to stern, gladly welcomed by all the suited Gareth Cheesman’s in charge of procurement, circling round the dog-locked motorways and presenting powerpoints in hell-forsakeb service stations.

    Attached to some other example of deathly fax. A minuted response of corporate ass hattery.

    1. Crapitas.

      I must remember that.

      We once contracted for one of their clients who refused to honour our out-of-pocket expenses and Crapitas refused to even do the decent thing and even put up a fight on our behalf.

      Utterly spineless and useless.

  5. Britain has traditionally Apples biggest market in Europe and as such there was a lot of animosity that the headquarters was based in Paris. That said apple knowing it was strong in the uk clearly decided to try to move ahead on the continent by so doing. As design and advertising not to mention authors have a massive world wide presence out of London and the UK generally it was natural that Apple products should have a very strong and growing presence here. Unfortunately the out of touch and backward thinking political and commercial elite are also predominant in many spheres and it is certainly true that these elements have held considerable sway over thinking beyond the creative. However that is changing and as this article shows those reactionary forces are increasingly on the run here and when it reaches the political elite you know that the final bastion is seriously under siege. Long live the revolution.

  6. It’s the same the western world over. Governments and their departments are the last place you’ll find genuine innovation, productive risk taking, etc, etc. Just buy what we got last time, only make it faster, shinier and cheaper = Windoze.


    How many years have all of us been telling the US government to do exactly this?!

    Run Windows, the single LEAST secure operating system available, including Windows 7, at your peril.

  8. Ignorant quote from the article:

    “”I use Apple at home. I know it’s not very open but I use it. I love it, it works and I think it is great – I’m Steve Jobs’ best customer.”

    Much as I admire the FORWARD MIGRATION intention, it is ignorant to consider Windows to be ‘open’ when it is the exact opposite, and Mac OS X to be ‘closed’ when the base CLI OS (Darwin, aka XNU) is ENTIRELY OPEN

    Oh, the tech ignorance of the world…

    1. Mac’s unix kernel, default web browser, web server, and many other components are completely open source.

      I’ve never heard of any open software ever being built into Windows. If there is, I bet Microsoft alters just enough code to try to claim it as their own.

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