BECTA says Whoa!, to Schools deploying Vista and Office 2007

BECTA is an organisation which outlines the use of technology in Britain’s educational system. A report has been released by BECTA which outlines it’s position on deploying VISTA and Office 2007.

Microsoft Vista and Office 2007: full report

An interim report was released in January 2007 which came to the following conclusions:

  • the new features of Microsoft’s Vista product added value but did not justify early deployment in the education sector. The deployment costs were seen as high and the benefits were far from clear
  • office 2007 contained no ‘must have’ features and Microsoft should develop an underpinning business case to justify deployment in the education sector
  • there were interoperability concerns regarding Office 2007; and Microsoft should urgently provide ‘native’ support for the OpenDocument format (ODF)
  • educational ICT suppliers should ship computers for the educational marketplace with a choice of office productivity suites on the desktop. Ideally, this choice should include an open-source offering

One of the most encouraging things about this report is that they have stopped and thought about alternatives to meet ICT requirements rather than swallowing what is forced fed them. They have stood their ground and said no, we have a choice.

We note a number of recent developments aimed at enhancing choice in the field of office productivity software. These include further development of the online Google Apps product set, the incorporation of Star Office into the free download Google Pack and the release by IBM of a free version of Lotus Symphony.

In summary the report states that other options such as Linux, and Open Office for its Open Document format should be considered before deploying Vista and Office 2007. It also states that Microsoft will have to provide a more compelling business case before deployment can take place.

How refreshing !


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