U.S. Veterans Affairs Department junks multimillion dollar Microsoft software license agreement

“The Veterans Affairs Department has canned a key enterprise software license agreement for Microsoft products, Nextgov has learned, a move that could save VA nearly 30 percent in annual licensing fees, analysts said,” Bob Brewin reports for Nextgov.

“The department has discontinued its Microsoft Software Assurance for Volume Licensing agreement, which typically requires customers to pay an annual fee of 29 percent for desktop software and server software to lock in discounts on upgrades, Chief Information Officer Roger Baker said in a memo to VA’s information technology staff on March 30, and confirmed by a spokeswoman today,” Brewin reports. “Approximately 300,000 employees use Microsoft operating system and desktop application software.”

MacDailyNews Take: Poor bastards.

Brewin reports, “VA did not respond to a query about how much it spends on Microsoft licenses, but based on past contracts, it easily represents a revenue stream measured in millions of dollars a year… VA has started to shift its computing environment from the standard Microsoft server/desktop environment to smartphones and tablet computers favored by hospital clinicians.”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh, you mean iPads? If so — that’s what hospital clinicians favor, after all — it’s really okay to write “iPad” instead of the clunky “tablet computers.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Jeff A.” for the heads up.]

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    1. It’s really really weird, this persistent aversion from some corners to accurately reporting the reality that the iPad is by far the dominant “tablet computer” in use. Are they afraid of attracting unwanted attacks from the Android fans?

      It’s these kinds of bizarre reporting choices that make me wonder how much our understanding of history, based on surviving documentation, is similarly filled with similar factual omissions and misrepresenations.

    1. Somewhere B. Gates made the comment that the company that would take out MSFT didn’t exist yet.

      He may have been wrong. It’s too early still, but that company may have been launched about the same time MSFT got launched (that “fruit company from California” as a former Nokia CEO once called it…)

      Ironic if it should happen…

  1. “Approximately 300,000 employees use Microsoft operating system and desktop application software.”


    This might be an appropriate moment to reiterate our appreciation for sacrifices made in the service of our nation.

    1. Pissing away our tax dollars still. It’s not their money – so no-one gives a damn. Every dept. should have to cut 10% of their ‘last year’s’ budget – then cut again next year. Get rid of these bloated government shirkers, let them do something productive for the country. Next time I’ll write what I really think!

      1. I am part of the system that serves our veterans. Yes, there are a lot of ways to save money in the system, but remember your Congress sets up the rules we live by. Last I work (yes work) from 0800 to 1630 M-F. I don’t even take a lunch break most days trying to help our veterans. Oh yeah did I mention I am also one of those veterans? So do something for your country and then complain. You may now return to your X-Box. Oh by the way (2) Mac user since 1994 and used very version of OS X, except for the free version.

        1. Welcome Home and thank you for your service. And thank you for continuing to serve at the VA. I have been in the VA system since 1993 and I have found most of the people at the Seattle VA to be hard working dedicated professionals doing the best they can in an under-funded bureaucratic nightmare.

          University of South Vietnam
          School of Warfare
          Class of ’68

          1. I don’t want to get off on a rant here but while we’re on the subject of the VA and yes I know it’s off topic.

            I have a friend who is a VVA (Vietnam Veterans of America) Service Officer and he tells me it is taking the VA Regional Offices (not part of the health care system) a year and a half or longer to process claims for returning Veterans. This is unconscionable. How are these Vets supposed to support themselves and their families while their paperwork sits in some bureaucrats inbox?

            And before you partisan hacks try to blame it on the current administration it has been this way for years. I am neither republican or democrat, I am an American.

      2. Having had a relative who was a vietnam vet with a lot of long term health problems and who needed VA health services, I can say from experience that the VA is one part of government that needs MORE funding.

        After what many of the returning veterans have sacrificed for us (arms, legs, sanity), they deserve much better than what we are giving them. If you don’t want to pay for it, don’t put our people in harms way.

        1. I agree – but let’s get rid of some of the high paid administrators. I would give every vet a lump sum of $1 million, besides the best treatment in the USA. Give them the same health-care as congress and the senate. We can still save billions.

          1. Actually, the Veterans Health Administration is one of the best health care providers in the country. They serve a sicker population, longer, for less money per capita than any other provider in the country and they have above average outcomes. What America really needs is the equivalent of the VHA available to every citizen. That would save a bunch of money. Giving the vets the same coverage as Congress would just be another health insurance (not health care) industry hand in the pocket of taxpayers.

    1. Who exactly said MS crapware was ‘cheap’? And in what respect were they referring to it as ‘cheap’?

      Cheap in quality? √Check.

      Cheap in price? Uh, no! FAIL.
      -> The Total Cost of Ownership of Windows is itself higher than the cost of any Mac OS X upgrade by a wide margin!

  2. I expect this is only the first in a wave of gov’t entities trashing their expensive Windows and Office licenses. Ballmer is on his way out. Microsoft is dead.

      1. So were RIM, until recently. Just because they’re making a ton of money now doesn’t mean they’ll continue to do so, and this story is one indicator of how their fortunes could follow RIM’s.

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