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back to article End of Microsoft NHS deal means mass deletions

Microsoft has warned any NHS worker who took advantage of the huge discounts available for installing MS Office at home that they must now delete the software. The NHS used to buy its software from Microsoft as part of an Enterprise Agreement. One of the advantages of this purchasing procedure, apart from costing less, was that …

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Paris Hilton

How many will bother?

I was wondering how many would just continue to use the software anyway, it's been paid for by them, are they going to get a refund if they do delete it? Now you want us to remove something we've paid for, how about letting us have access to our data free without having to buy your expensive key?

Nice opening for Open Office here, but given a lot won't want to lose Outlook they'll be doing business as usual for a long time yet.

Hang on, I hear the trolls approaching.

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Linux

migration from Outlook

http://library.gnome.org/users/evolution/stable/outlook-migration-mail.html.en

Here. This article provides instructions on how to import data from Outlook to Evolution or anything Open Source like Thunderbird. Assuming the user hasn't gotten rid of their Outlook/Window$ install yet.

Seriously, tho, this just irks me. They paid money for the software, thus they should be allowed to keep it.

Tux. Because once you download him in one of the many distros out there, he's your's to keep.

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Stop

As if...

...anyone would uninstall it. If you've got a functional corporate license sitting on your machine, you're just going to keep it, aren't you?

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Happy

£109

Or £0 for Open Office

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You know...

...that SOUNDS good and all, and when I help users with home machines I do recommend OO and will install it for them. A lot of them simply don't like it, however, and go and buy MS Office anyway.

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Silver badge

Or £0 for Open Office

How much is that in US dollars?

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Linux

Why not Open Source?

So as a taxpayer in these times of financial belt tightening, why isn't the NHS using perfectly capable (in 8 or 9 cases out of 10) software such as Open Office or other free equivalents? Glad this agreement is over, but trusts et al will now have to buy their own copies of MS Office, thus pissing more money against a wall.

And they wonder how they can make budget cuts FFS..........

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Bronze badge

Cuts

Go in and prove to them you can reduce their costs by switching to OpenOffice and they'll be very pleased to see you.

They have a lot of cost savings to make and would rather not lose staff.

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Thumb Down

Alternatively...

...how about the government get their effing fingers out and renew the Enterprise Agreement.

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Pint

Re : Cuts

They have a lot of cost savings to make and would rather not lose any managers.

There, fixed it for you.

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FAIL

How many cases?

Personally, I'd rather the NHS *didn't* chose software on the basis that it's "perfectly capable (in 8 or 9 cases out of 10)". One or two in ten seems like a terrifyingly high failure rate to me.

Yes, I know the NHS loses patients already, all health services do, it's kinda inherent in the business. But to add another 10-20% to the attrition rate from "using amateurish and unfinished software" - that's not a reasonable way of saving money.

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Bronze badge

Oh, well,

it was a nice deal whilst it lasted, and allowed me to work from home on decent hardware (my own desktop, not a crippled, NHS-issue laptop) but, if it's going to intentionally cripple itself now that the agreement has ended, I seriously doubt that I shall shell out on whatever MS are asking for Word & Excel, just to meet my megre home needs (although, the wife will probably miss Powerpoint - every teachers favourite tool, the modern equivalent to OHP transparencies).

OpenOffice for me I guess, but no extra money for MS (yeah, I'm really sticking it to the man).

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doesn't self-destruct

you may not be able to reinstall it though, and, of course, it's technically breaching the licensing

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Joke

Ah,

so OO and Linux if/when my current HDD decides to die, then.

Good, I was hoping not to have to waste any of my massive, public sector salary - it's expensive enough burning the money for heat.

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Flame

Oh come one

Most of NHS's apps are web-based. Just move to Linux (perhaps build your own custom distro).

And in any case, given the pay that most health care workers get, that £109 shouldn't be too much to them.

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FAIL

NHS = IE6

Isn't part of the reason for IE6 hanging round like a bad smell because most of the NHS' web-apps are written for IE6 using code that doesn't work in other browsers.....

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FAIL

Re: Oh come one

That's a laugh. Access 97 databases and .NET frameworks are the dominant 'application' (aka crap) in the NHS at the moment. It's either legacy stuff that won't get upgraded or new stuff that runs slow and s***e.

There's no help in hell that the NHS could ever make a transition to open-source without starting IT from fresh again.

And FYI, the money paid for the home user programme is for distribution and administration only, therefore the software itself is officially free - albeit not anymore!

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Flame

Web based..

Most of their apps may well be web based, but many are extremely poorly written and don't work in modern browsers.. This is why the vast majority of NHS desktops still run IE6.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: IE6

Yes - some projects explicitly state that they're only supported in IE6.

However back to the story, it's just Microsoft throwing their toys out of the pram. Well let them....

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IT and NHS

You're (sadly) not far wrong with the Access 97 quote, though the Enterprise Agreement with Oracle means that there's a good chance of migrating that to APEX over time.

I'd disagree with the "never migrating to Open Source" as there are quite a few Linux boxes in the Trust where I work, and they're increasing in count to save money (there's also a Novell enterprise deal which give the NHS free SLES, and other distros are also used)

The biggest problem that large corporates (and public sector) have is the perceived lack of vendor support of the product. Red Hat and Novell have so far managed to break past that to a degree, but at a price comparable to Microsoft's. That leaves most management deciding to stay with the familiar.

The money for the Home User scheme was (for the end user) about distribution and administration. The software itself wasn't free; it was simply funded under another agreement (the Enterprise Wide Agreement). When that agreement lapsed, the license lapsed with it, as the 'rental agreement' had finished.

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Anonymous Coward

Alternatively they might prefer...

google.com/docs

openoffice.org

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FAIL

Are you kidding?

NHS / medical information on a system handled by Google?

Have you even read the T&Cs for Google Docs?

"By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

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Happy

Sounds like an opportunity....

to displace MS Office if handled well.

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Average NHS wage

'The average annual basic salary for all directly employed NHS staff as at August 2004 was £22,300.'

That's directly employed. Contract staff are less well paid.

So, Anonymous Coward, £109 is quite a lot of money

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Gates Horns

time to

start phasing MS out of the NHS and moving to open standards/software methinks...

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Linux

Is it April again already?

1. Take up of the "MS advantage delete" instructions will be minimal.

2. Another MS PR disaster - Foot, meet barrel. Trigger, do your stuff.

3. Non-technical NHS staff who get instructions from their IT dept. in the months ahead will feel conned.

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Flame

Don't be a pillock

..."most health care workers" are poorly paid shit-shovellers. You'll be thinking of those pesky doctors and high-level admin staff (the ones that HAVE to be paid "competitive salaries" or they'll just bugger off).

Also the ones that have managed to upgrade themselves to office 2007 while the rest of the trust are using 97 or 2000, leading to no-one being able to read those stupid docx memos they send round...

But don't get me started...

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Answer=OpenOffice

Yes, docx documents are a pain for users of older versions of MS-Office, but ironically OpenOffice seems to read them ok :)

John

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Anonymous Coward

No it can't!

Open Office often makes stupid rendering mistakes with docx files, as does Office 2000, with the docx import filters!

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Bronze badge

Addressing the wrong problem

For the past 13 years, I have told everyone I work with or have any business dealings with, that all attachments to emails formatted as .doc (or, more recently, .docx) will be deleted unread. Back in '97 I presented this as a security precaution, but I don't even bother any more.

I haven't missed anything important yet.

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Silver badge

Come into my parlour

that's not a parlour - that's a maze with cash operated door locks that eventually lead you back to your own data - if your lucky and dont upgrade and find it incompatible with the new version!

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LPB

Wheres the refund

Why dont they offer details of how to get refunds and whether or not they're available.

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Mat
Jobs Horns

Refunds are not applicable

If anyone read the agreement they will realize that they paid an 'Admin' fee - Not even a licence fee.

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Anonymous Coward

Like that gonna happen

I used to work in the IT dept for my local council and kept the copy of XP corp version and office they had let me install on my own pc for working from home. They said to me, oh you will have to deleted them now and destroy the install disks when i left. And of course i said "yes ill get onto that straight away"

I left in 2008 and funnily ive been really busy every day since then and havent got around to doing it yet.

Anonymous coward for obvious reasons

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most NHS IT is from scratch every few years

so don't worry about that.

OpenOffice. Obvious, really.

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Anonymous Coward

Refunds?

IIRC from when I bought my copy I was just paying for the media and shipping; the license being 'free'

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Stop

No Refund Entitlement....

.... doesn't anyone read anymore? The T&C's were clear when everyone clicked the "Order" button that you were paying £8.95 (or £17.95 in the earlier days) for media and admin costs only. There could be no doubt that there was no license being granted, and the HUP was mearly an extension of the desktop license agreement CFH signed with Microsoft.

We used to say (in our HUP FAQ) that, because of this, the users had to delete the software and destroy the media when they left our employ or should the agreement ever expire.

Do I expect many of them to comply? No. But the rules were very clear and HUP users are now unlicensed. This is the same conditions for any organisation with a HUP entitlement, it's not unique to the NHS.

Other comments:

1) National Programme applications are now certified for IE 7 and have been since 22 Jan 2010. Granted that was way way overdue, but that is the end of *that* excuse for not upgrading.

2) Terminating the EwA is amazingly short-sighted. Now hundreds of Trusts across the country need to go back to the days of full time license tracking and dedicated license administrators; with the EwA the relatively small number of licenses we had to track were easily managed. Now we have thousands of desktops that may (or may not) require licenses depending on when they were purchased and what for

3) With the end of the EwA we all lose SA. Given the emphasis on encryption and security, Windows 7 with Bitlocker is a shoe-in, and now we all have to buy SA just to keep that capability.

4) I don't know any organisation where the users "managed to install Office 2007" by themselves. There has to be administrative involvement one way or the other - and if your users are administrators you're completely screwed anyway and should be fixing that, not wasting time posting to The Register.

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Anonymous Coward

Ummm... contradiction?

"There could be no doubt that there was no license being granted, and the HUP was mearly an extension of the desktop license agreement CFH signed with Microsoft".

Fair enough, but if there was no license being granted then this;

"Do I expect many of them to comply? No. But the rules were very clear and HUP users are now unlicensed".

matters not, because there was no license granted to the user in the first place.

Am I missing something?

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"Windows 7 with Bitlocker is a shoe-in"

I'm not sure if you mean "shoo-in" or "boot-in".

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Flame

Yep you are missing something.

HUP users are allowed to use the same license that they use in work, just at home. So basically your company has 10,000 employees and 10,000 licenses then each and everyone of those employees would be allowed a home use program (HUP) media pack to install office at home. This would then allow them to effectively use the same license as they are at work, just on their home PC.

The moment they leave the company, they're no longer covered by the license, as its tied to the company that paid for it, you don't work for them anymore, you can't use their license.

HUP is yet another thing that the government hasn't thought about, that and the rest of the SA that comes with an EA.

Still they're planning to shut all NHS Trusts in the next couple of years making life even harder as every GP's office is now responsible for their own IT. Welcome back to the stone age and don't even consider a GP being able to send documents to your local hospital, even with a CD they'll all have different versions of browser/application/office/OS so nothing will work. It sounds ridiculous to say it, but this actually could risk lives due to a hollow PR victory to show how everyone is tightening their belt, cutting these huge contracts and stopping big companies making money from the public sector. Of course, the fact that 17.5% of the EA will loop straight back into the pot that bought it is being ignored. This should actually be titled government robs itself of £52.5 million of VAT

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Megaphone

No, No, No

But these users havent 'left the company' and the NHS has perpetual licence rights, so it is legal to keep the software on Home PCs!!!

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FAIL

No it doesn't.

The NHS probably DOESN'T have perpetual usage rights; they'll have agreed a fixed term contract with usage rights for the duration - effectively like an Enterprise Subscription Agreement - and their usage rights will terminate upon the termination of that agreement (maybe with a grace period) and thus so will the HUP rights.

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N2
Bronze badge

The Microsoft (dis)advantage

Do as we say or else...

Brilliant sales tactics

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't this how drug dealers operate?

Initially:

"Here you go, try this. No, no I won't take a penny. You're a good friend!"

Later:

"What all of your important data is locked in a proprietary format and your license is no longer valid? Ker-CHING!!"

I don't expect anyone at home to delete their copies but I do expect Government to start understanding the "Microsoft dis-Advantage".

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Thumb Up

£109? Honest Parents don't need to pay that.

It may be a little unfair, but NHS employees who are also parents with school-age children could take advantage of the student deals and get a fully licensed version for half that, legitimately.

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Grenade

You Pay One Way or Another

After spending all day yesterday WAITING for OO it doesn't seem like such a great alternative. Granted, I was linking an external database into a spreadsheet but EVERY SINGLE THING took forever, just saving a small file takes 30 seconds, some things take 5 minutes (one refresh took over an hour!) and all open OO windows become unresponsive simultaneously. I've long been an open source advocate but I'm about ready to give MS another chance. I wonder if I can buy a version of Office from around 2000-2004?

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@Eddie

I can't say I've had those problems and I've used OOO on windows and Linux. Startup is always slow due to the Java dependence but usually after that I find things are pretty responsive.

Then again I may be less demanding than you - or you could be very unlucky.

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Anonymous Coward

@Eddie

Disable anti-aliasing:

Tools->Options->OpenOffice.org->View->uncheck 'Use Anti-Aliasing'->click 'Ok'

To start up faster:

Tools -> Options -> OpenOffice.org -> Memory->check 'Enable systray Quickstarter'

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Pirate

Open source

the price tag is irrelevant and I won't be deleting mine. I paid for it..and therefore have the right to use it FULL STOP.

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FAIL

munich's council move to open source

I suggest you check the articles below, 1 is from 2006 and one from 2009 for a project announced in 2003. Munich still hasn't finished with their migration to Open Source and costs them a bit! I thought it was free? I can see NHS migrating in 20 years judging by size.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/09/06/28/0344234/The-State-of-Munichs-Ongoing-Linux-Migration?from=rss

http://news.cnet.com/Munich-fires-up-Linux-at-last/2100-7344_3-6119153.html

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