Microsoft secured a strong victory over its open-source software (OSS) competitors this week when the UK government's procurement offices agreed to sign a 3-year software deal with the company. Although terms of the agreement haven't been revealed (analysts say it's worth at least several million dollars), the deal is especially valuable because Microsoft competed with open-source vendors for the contract. Following several high-profile losses in Europe, most prominently with the city of Munich, Germany, Microsoft's UK victory suggests that the company can still compete with open-source competitors on price and value.
Microsoft's competition with OSS, which is freely licensed but generally includes installation and support costs that meet or exceed those for Windows and Microsoft Office, has come to a head in recent months. Numerous governments around the world have investigated open-source solutions. Microsoft has responded with lower costs and by offering governments access to OS and application source code.