back to article US military nails 'best ever' Microsoft deal, brags size does matter

US Department of Defense personnel will get their hands on Microsoft’s latest software in a deal officials claim is their best yet from Redmond. The government department has signed a three-year enterprise licence agreement with Microsoft worth $617m, giving its two-million-plus civilian and military staff access to Windows 8 …

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  1. Tony Carter-Inman
    FAIL

    The US Military should be getting paid to use Office 2013 and Windows 8!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Office 2013 is a magical and wonderful thing (well excel is) saddly everything new UI wise on 2013 is pretty crap. But the thing itself is great.

      But yeah - Windows 8 gives you eye cancer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Metro looks like some kind of CIA mind control experiment.

      Look out for the psychaedelic flat square active panels man.

    3. Bob Vistakin
    4. BorkedAgain
      Joke

      Dammit Tony, you got there first...

      I was going to say that doesn't sound like a bad deal - and after Microsoft have paid them to take the software they don't actually have to install it, do they?

  2. Martijn Otto
    Thumb Down

    The best Microsoft deal would be a deal without any Microsoft software.

    1. Paulusar

      Better Deal

      A better deal would be Windows 7 and Office 2007.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      What would you suggest they use instead?

      Guess what, people use Microsoft because the alternatives are generally harder to use, require admin staff who cost more to employ, don't support as much modern hardware and nobody but annoying geeks know how to use it.

      Yes, lets move from an OS with 90+% usage in the corporate world to one with less than 1% use in the corporate world. There's probably more OS/2 machines than Linux machines in the business world.

      Of course servers is another matter altogether.

      Have you tried talking someone through how to do something on the phone with a Linux desktop (without the command line)? you have no freakin idea what their GUI looks like since it could be one of a thousand different systems. Linux invented the whole pain of fragmentation, call it choice but I call it thousands of people all reinventing the wheel in a millions different colours.

      1. Martijn Otto
        Thumb Up

        They could use a battered-down version of Ubuntu, like the Dutch military does. A friend of mine works there, and they all get a USB-stick with this so that even if they are off-base, they have something they can boot off and establish a secure connection if need be, without having to worry about the spyware, viruses and other nasties that usually come with a Windows system.

        It works pretty easy and they have no problems getting personnel to work with the OS. The FUD about not knowing, and thus not being able to use, linux is based on old information. Nowadays, linux is a grown-up, userfriendly system that even my grandmother can use.

        1. RAMChYLD
          Boffin

          Indeed!

          I have successfully converted my elderly aunt and my uncle to Ubuntu with no effort at all. Even XFCE was easy enough to use for them, LibreOffice is much more familiar to them compared to Office since Office 2007, and they still can do everything they ever did on Windows.

          I'd say the desktop fragmentation thing is FUD.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Indeed!

            Yes your Gran is the same as the entire US military. God there are some dicks in this place.

            Show me an Open Source version of Lync?

            Openfire? ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

            Asterisk? Oh please.

            1. tuxtester
              Happy

              Re: Indeed!

              > ... there are some dicks in this place.

              Yep, you're not wrong there, Coward.

        2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
          Pint

          "...USB-stick..."

          They allow USB sticks? OMG!! SECURITY!!! SECURITY!!! SECURITY!!!

        3. NullReference Exception
          Linux

          They do.

          http://www.spi.dod.mil/lipose.htm: "Lightweight Portable Security (LPS) creates a secure end node from trusted media on almost any Intel-based computer (PC or Mac). LPS boots a thin Linux operating system from a CD or USB flash stick without mounting a local hard drive. Administrator privileges are not required; nothing is installed. The LPS family was created to address particular use cases: LPS-Public is a safer, general-purpose solution for using web-based applications. The accredited LPS-Remote Access is only for accessing your organization's private network."

          But this is the DoD, where the left hand knows what the right hand is doing, but doesn't care because it's too busy defending itself from the left foot. (The existence of the right foot is classified.)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "fragmentation"

        No need to post anonymously RICHTO, the stink of your FUD gives you away. The f-word you keep flogging to death is a synonym of *choice*... and it's something we *like*!... ESPECIALLY so in comparison to your evil cartel monoculture. Yuck. More of this wonderful "fragmentation" for me please :D

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm Sure The Chinese Are Rejoicing

    Makes it nice and easy for the Chinese military to read what the Pentagon is typing in real time.

    1. tuxtester
      Linux

      Re: I'm Sure The Chinese Are Rejoicing

      Yes, why would a department of defence announce to the world that they are using a spyware and computer-virus prone operating system on their computers. What a bunch of plonkers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I'm Sure The Chinese Are Rejoicing

        "Yes, why would a department of defence announce to the world that they are using a spyware and computer-virus prone operating system on their computers. What a bunch of plonkers."

        No doubt they're announcing it with a default password on port 3389 anyway.

  4. Kubla Cant Silver badge

    US military nails 'best ever'

    Was I the only one to wonder if it was the nails they use to hold bits of wood together, or their fingernails?

    The first sounds disappointingly primitive for the US military. The second sounds like they're getting ready to scratch your eyes out.

    1. Swarthy Silver badge
      WTF?

      The second is what they're using to hold on to budgets at this point. the "Fiscal Cliff" just got kicked down the road, not averted. if the US Military wants to have MS software, it had best pay up now, while it has access to the cash.

      WTF, 'Cause I'm not sure WTF the US Gov't is doing, and I'm not sure they do either.

      1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
        Holmes

        Cut and run with Windows fun!

        No need to worry.

        All the blather about cutting military budget is just retarded posturing.

        Via antiwar.com:

        On Monday, the Pentagon issued a statement warning that a failure to avoid the cuts would put the jobs of 800,000 civilian employees at risk.

        But the proposed cuts to defense budgets are, frankly, puny. The harshest scenario for defense cuts would only put budgets back at about the 2007 level, and they aren’t even really “cuts” to defense spending; they are reductions in the rate of growth of defense spending.

        Illustrating how these cries are more scare stories than anything else is Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s less publicized predictions, according to the Associated Press, that “workers…will not face layoffs immediately” and that “he does not believe the Pentagon’s day-to-day operations would change dramatically.”

  5. Francis Vaughan

    Wrong metric

    The Microsoft guys negotiating the deal really don't care in the slightest about the level of discount that can be calculated against a per seat price. It was a given that they were going to sell an all of department license. The only question was what the maximum amount of money they could extract from the DoD was. That number was probably not too hard to discover. Then all they do is work on convincing the DoD to hand it over.

    The DoD's job is to muddy the waters and convince MS that the DoD really have much less money to spend, and get MS to latch onto a goal price that is actually lower than it is. Given the number of ex-DoD consultants that MS could engage to help, I suspect the whip hand is actually Microsoft's, and not the DoD's. But it always good to let the loser save face. A press release from the DoD making themselves look good is a small price for MS to pay for extracting that last 100 million from the DoD.

  6. Shasta McNasty
    Linux

    Just a thought

    If they're spending $617M on software over three years, how much would it cost to produce customised unix server and desktop software that does exactly what they want, nothing more, nothing less which has full control over the source code and isn't tied in to any one company.

    At what point does customised (not new) software become cheaper than the stuff MS produces?

    1. Desidero
      Stop

      Re: Just a thought

      I've watched as government agencies try to dictate system development and fall flat on their face - commitment to Sun workstation, low bitrate ATM to the desktop, other superlative choices. After millions spent, they threw it all out and want to regular PCs, switched ethernet and other stuff the rest of the world was doing.

      At what point does customised software become cheaper? with the government, likely never. (NASA perhaps being an exception.... sometimes)

    2. Sean Kennedy

      Re: Just a thought

      This sounds great until you consider how much it would cost to develop said software, the chances of getting it right ( practically nil ).

      On top of that, then you need to find techs to support it; good luck with that. Unless you plan on building out a world class training system, dealing with the 1+ year plus lead time between hiring a tech and real usefulness, plus paying the wages necessary for retention...ya, it adds up quickly.

      1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

        Re: Just a thought

        Nope. If they could cover schools, business and government with a Linux development in the Extremadura region of Spain (which is, as far as I know about the poorest region) they sure as hell could throw a million or 2 at a project to do it for the US infrastructure, with as added bonus that they would actually be able to do a proper risk and security assessment.

        I'd cook this up for 1..2 million, easy. Add a couple of mil for distribution and you're underway (the aforementioned Spanish region has one group of techs taking care of the lot, which is the joy of stable software).

        Given that one of the El Reg team lives in Spain I'm surprised nobody has tried to do a followup - this thing was done more than 10 years ago (well before Munich) so there should be scope for some form of update article..

        I'm sure they would have been able to get a better deal if they already had a Linux project going - that alone would have justified investing a million. In my opinion, this was simply the last defence money shafted out of the government before the lot collapses and remember - profits go offshore, so that money is lost for the US citizen. Ah, the joys of capitalism..

        1. Aitor 1 Silver badge

          Re: Just a thought

          I have one of the guys who mantained Linex in my group.. I guess that must tell you the current state of Linex.

          It was mostly discontinued.. for several reasons, partly due to budget constrains, partly because they had decided to use Debian (now you can flame me!!)

          The new version should come out in a few months, but as most pple were made redundant more than one year ago.. and the rest some months later, let's say it is a new thing, based in the old one.

          Bottom line: we should pay for OS AND programs. Be it through donations, taxes or upfront cost. At the end of the day, there is nothing free... someone has to pay.

          Note: I do use Linux, and like it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Just a thought

            I have one of the guys who mantained Linex in my group

            Just for others (who may have thought you misspelled it), LinEx is the Spanish project I meant.

            You're right - the only way to do this properly is actually the approach the German government has taken with GPG (for example): take existing, viable projects and give them a boost so they become what you need. This is a clever use of tax payer's money as it doesn't just save money at government level, it also allows citizens to use the result and save money too (not just in software costs, but also through greater stability and an easier ability to customise).

            Shame to hear they closed the team down, but going Debian makes sense for the standard part.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Just a thought

        Nonsense. For an overwhelming majority of users (SES excluded) a standard Linux distribution would provide a workable solution out of the box. Many or most new applications use a browser to access java applications and databases on mid- to upper-size Unix servers or mainframes; they would need little development. Those that don't in many cases are scheduled for replacement or should be; and there is no reason to think development cost for a Linux-based browser would be meaningfully different from Windows. As far as training costs are concerned, It is doubtful that they would exceed the costs of training everyone up to Windows 8.

        One of the big problems in the DoD activity in which I work is "microapps" - MS Access databases with little applications, developed outside of IT management control and then abandoned as the originator died, retired, or was promoted to his or her Peter level. We have, I am told, around 5,000 such similar-but-not-identical things, used for everything from tweaking payroll input to fiddling accounting data. Once abandoned by their creators, they fall into disrepair over time due to legal, regulatory, or organizational changes and IT staff are called upon to repair them. As one might expect, they tend to designed rather poorly and with little forethought for maintenance, and come essentially without documentation. A non-MS solution would have conversion and maintenance costs, even if "free", but the long term savings from eliminating Access (and some similar Excel applications) would likely save enough to pay several times over the cost of conversion.

    3. Euripides Pants Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Just a thought

      Remember, these are the people who spend $700 each for toilet seats.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        Re: Just a thought

        That is to fund the secret UFO bases on the far side of the moon...

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a thought

      Yes, it's an interesting thought as $600m buys you a lot of custom development. But it can also, as we see regularly around the world, be spent on an endless programme of work that involves thousands of "stakeholders" run massively over budget and over time and then get cancelled by a new government administration who think that a different approach is better.

      Doing it yourself can deliver a fantastic result, but don't underestimate the risks involved.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Just a thought

      "...how much would it cost...?"

      About a Quadrillion-Trillion-Billion-Million dollars. And this proposed Government-IT OS-creation project will be finished at about the same time as the Sun enters the Red-Giant phase.

      Don't believe me? Look up JTRS.

  7. Pete 2

    Headline price and REAL price

    Somehow I doubt that this will be all the DoD pays for their shiny new stuff. Once the extras, ooops - we forgot's, sorry that's not in the contract's and unforeseen situations that will need additional help at the FULL PRICE are taken into account (which we'll never hear about) I have no doubt this deal will come out to be very similar in total cost to what every other MS customer would pay - seat for seat.

    Commercial companies are masters of the art of separating government departments from our taxes their money. After all, governments have little incentive to be economical or fiscally prudent (and defence departments even less so) as they can always mug the proles for more tax-cash or sell more bonds that they'll never pay back, if they ever start to run short.

    So I'm sure MS are letting the military have their little neener, knowing full-well that their sales bonuses are very, very safe for many years to come.

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: Headline price and REAL price

      Yup. Just as the magic word for bypassing due process is "terrorist", the magic phrase to screw procurement deals is "change control" - and that trick is so old it's a scandal it can still be used successfully..

  8. Joe User
    Trollface

    The REAL reason

    Microsoft made this deal just to artificially inflate their Windows 8 license count (even more).

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Re: The REAL reason

      You mean, *create* a license count :)

    2. garbo
      Pint

      Re: The REAL reason

      Or maybe, with so far disappointing take-up, they just have to move W8 any way they can. Hence the "sweetheart" deal for the military.

  9. NukEvil
    Flame

    Hardware

    Does the deal include buying all the hardware that will actually run Windows 8, Office 2013, etc?

    If not, then the DoD just bought the most expensive steaming turd in the history of existence.

    Flame icon, because its title attribute contains the word "steam" and such.

    1. Sandtitz Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: Hardware

      Windows 8 has practically the same hardware requirements as Windows 7. Check the wiki.

      Office 2013 should run on any hardware that can run Windows 7/8.

  10. NomNomNom

    Awesome!!!

  11. Bob Vistakin
    Linux

    "Hi! I'm Clippy! It looks like you want to launch some nukes".

    "I noticed you pushed the big red button. Your system now needs rebooting, so these changes can come into effect."

    1. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      And it's over to India

      For some offshore support.

      Good job with those injuns BTW.

  12. David Kelly 2

    $100 per machine per year is a deal?

    The only thing I find I need Microsoft products for is to extract the data written in documents created using Microsoft software.

    $617m / 2m machines / 3 years = $102.83 each per year.

    1. asdf Silver badge

      Re: $100 per machine per year is a deal?

      $100 a year for the latest OS, Office and Sharepoint is not a rate most small businesses get more than likely.

      1. Abot13
        FAIL

        Re: $100 per machine per year is a deal?

        it is a buy once use three years deal, so its $300 per machine. And I think thats not a real good deal for 2 million machines. ni use comparing it to SMB. the numer of machines is what counts, should and could do much better, iven with MSFT, let alone with FOSS.

    2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: $100 per machine per year is a deal?

      The proudly claimed "10%" off is noise - I don't understand why anyone would consider that to be anything other than a rounding error..

      But putting in terms of $100/year is pretty reasonable.

  13. Herby Silver badge

    So, Windows is...

    ...running ships aground, and aiming weapons?

    Sorry, I'll pass. Hopefully they will allow some 'other' software on their machines. Why not skip the 'office' requirement and specify LibreOffice (or equivalent) and get it done cheaper. THAT would give a BIG boost to FOSS and make lots of people happy!

    Microsoft is probably very happy to get $100/machine for minimal (no?) work. PC vendors already include the cost of W7/W8 in the hardware price, so DoD is probably paying twice. I seriously doubt that Microsoft will give OEMs a discount for shipping machines to DoD.

    Win for Microsoft, Lost for American Taxpayers (like me). (*SIGH*)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, Windows is...

      Hasn't happened yet and Windows has been running ships for quite a while now.

      http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/26/windows_boxes_at_sea/

      1. A Known Coward
        Windows

        Re: So, Windows is...

        I seem to recall (not very well) watching an interview with an IT tech working on board a UK Sub (pretty sure it was a sub not a warship). Anyway, the stand-out point for me was when he mentioned having to reboot it periodically ...

        Now I freely admit that I don't really remember it terribly well, so if someone can find the vid on youtube or whatever to get the exact quote, please do.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: So, Windows is...

          To my eternal shame I was involved in deploying a Windows "solution" to navy submarines. It was a bloody nightmare - sysytem hangs, blue screens, phantom reboots, etc... The application was crap as well, thankfully I had nothing to do with that.

          Luckily it was only used for inventory control and was quickly shot out of the torpedo tubes :-)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, Windows is...

        Windows has been running ships for quite a while now

        I rather like that - it is following the same path as SCADA.

        Isolated environment, install COTS because someone sells this as the most cost effective option and suddenly they get hooked up to a decent network because they have to work in a collaborative context.

        And what happened next with SCADA? Yup.

        I'd call it Worries for Warships..

      3. Abot13

        Re: So, Windows is...

        And you think that the source of any software related problem on a navy ship would be publicized? national security anyone?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, Windows is...

      Have you tried using LibreOffice having moved from MS Office? Especially in an environment where lots of others still use MS Office?

      My department (all 8 of us) moved over to it for a couple of weeks (we were about to "upgrade" from MSOffice 2003 to 2007 and decided to go for the free option) and we found we'd have to 'touch up' our documents on an MS-Office machine to make sure they looked right. There were useful features missing left, right and centre, our Macros didn't work- if we were just turning out documents that could be PDF-ed (so we know they'll always look right) it may have sufficed, but it just was not useable. In the end it cost more in lost productivity than just buying 'proper' Office. 2007 came with it's own set of challenges, but at least everything /worked/.

      Now scale that up to 2,000,000 users and 15 years of custom ways of doing things. Moving to LibreOffice would be phenomenally expensive.

      I still use it at home, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, Windows is...

        we found we'd have to 'touch up' our documents on an MS-Office machine to make sure they looked right

        I must admit I admire the genius of Microsoft to make people care a lot more about formatting than content, which also explains the very existence and (ab)use of Powerpoint.

        Your metrics don't add up, though. Costs don't go up linearly - if you want to do a project like that you first examine needs, hire temp skills so you can run a feasibility pilot and work out where your problems lie.

        At that point you can decide to acquire the required skill sets through staffing or training and plan a migration. Your higher costs are offset by license saving in Y1, with no repeat costs in Y2 (so your saving increases year on year), and your efficiency increases as skillsets deepen. In addition, because you actually have a UI which doesn't change every other week you also no longer have staff retraining issues to hang on to the productivity you have achieved. The only issue is that you'll have to spend some money on ODF to OOXML conversion - that team needs support in many ways because MS OOXML isn't as Open a standard as MS pretends it to be..

      2. Peter Snow
        Linux

        Re: So, Windows is...

        I helped an organisation do exactly that, successfully on more than one occasion. The trick is having a careful plan and giving it more than 2 weeks.

        Our plan was to keep the existing Office software on the PC's for the time being, to open those legacy documents created on it but use LibreOffice to create all new documents and to open them. Most users were very happy with the arrangement and the company reduced it's IT spending over the next two years (and onwards). This paved the way to upgrade most of the departments to Linux two years later. Finance wouldn't budge because the crap software provided by banks for integrating with them, was only designed for windows.

        The two companies I'm thinking of no longer need to buy antivirus products or software licenses. They also have reduced their desktop support staff, as no viruses to remove and operating systems simply don't need to be reloaded. The staff are more productive too. There is no rebooting of PC's in the middle of the working day anymore or waiting while updates are applied.

        The support is done remotely now and therefore can be achieved on demand as no travelling required.

        Since then, they have been spending their I.T. budget on nicer hardware, both out back and on the desktop, making the whole thing even more reliable. Best decision they ever made.

        I use Linux at home and nothing could ever persuade me to go back to Windows (I recommend Ubuntu with KDE desktop).

        If small organisations can plan this kind of migration, get it right, save money and increase productivity, why can't the US DOD?

      3. Gordon 11

        Re: So, Windows is...

        Now scale that up to 2,000,000 users and 15 years of custom ways of doing things. Moving to LibreOffice would be phenomenally expensive.

        It's the 15 years of custom ways that have led to the expense, though. That is where companies should be looking. Most office documents could be very simple, but are over-complicated by using proprietary features "because they are available".

        I remember getting a PowerPoint file once that consisted of one line of text on one page (standard font and colour. No doubt this was the only way the author knew how to send a one-line attachment. Then there is the number of Excel files I've had just so someone can send a 3x3 "table" when it could all have been entered as raw text in the message.

        Businesses dig their own holes, and once started they have a shovel in their hands, so reckon that the only thing to do is keep digging...

      4. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

        Re: So, Windows is...

        > 2,000,000 users and 15 years of custom ways

        Not one of those 2000000 employees has a custom-way brain cell in their head?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, Windows is...

      I work for the US Navy, and we have alot of workstations running Red Hat. The only time I touch Windows at work is to read my email.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So, Windows is...

        I work for the US Navy, and we have alot of workstations running Red Hat. The only time I touch Windows at work is to read my email.

        .. for which there are also plenty alternatives, but it suggests some Talibandit managed to convince your betters to suffer Exchange instead of a decent groupware package.

        I've seen the kind of stage shows MS puts up for military, so I'm not surprised. If they spent 25% of that effort improving the actual product they wouldn't have problems at all, but as far as I can tell, conning people into buying stuff is about the only thing they were genuinely good at.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So many negative waves. It could have been an IOS deal.

    THAT puts it in perspective. :)

  15. Levente Szileszky
    WTF?

    Jesus, the DoD is so clueless it scares me....

    ...seriously - do they really think *they* made a good deal? And it includes running Windows 8 etc?

    Ignorance is bliss, I guess.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Jesus, the DoD is so clueless it scares me....

      Well, it was demo'd on a Mac portable.

      Someone mentioned "Surface to Air" and it seemed like a bargain.

  16. Boris S.

    This should be a very expensive lesson

    Naturally tax payers will be paying for the DoD's ignorance, as usual.

  17. Keep Refrigerated
    Windows

    Discount indeed!

    This announcement sounds suspiciously like one my relatives made after bagging a load of 'discount' watches - - from a cruise they'd been on - that started running slow after a week.

    RRP $99, but special to cruise patrons: $20. If the fact they can't be bought anywhere else but on cruises at $20, and have some rich-sounding but obscure brand name doesn't raise alarm bells I don't know what does!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    FOSS has no dividend.

    A lot of higher up government officials have relations with large contracting companies like Northrup Grumman and Halliburton, which in turn have financial relations with Microsoft, so by choosing Microsoft they are just making share prices raise which is good for the whole "club". It's really that simple.

    Until FOSS can pay out, hardly any want to pay in.

  19. tempemeaty
    Facepalm

    In three years the DOD can count it's losses in dollars

    So Microsoft has succeeded in baiting the DOD into expanding it's use of their software which will have to be re-licensed after 3yrs? Then what, Microsoft comes back and enjoys hitting them with huge licensing fees for all the extra computers and devices now running more software than ever? Looks to me like the DOD is out to lunch on basic strategy. I wouldn't brag like they did if I was the DOD, they just got embarrassingly taken advantage of.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Red-handed?

    That's a crap deal and a waste of taxes. Suddenly announcing that you're upgrading Windows sounds like what happens when an IT department is caught stealing it. The settlement can be paying to upgrade every single x86 machine to a new licensed copy of the full MS software suite, whether it runs Windows or not.

  21. nuked

    They're moving away from Vista?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They don't use Vista (or at least I haven't seen it). In general, XP is still top dog. There are other OS's, but the government runs Windows XP more than any other OS.

      I'm excited to see how the desktop itself is arranged. If Metro is tried, it will fail.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Holmes

    Size isn't everything, but...

    "...Announcing the agreement, the department - the world’s largest employer ..."

    This side of the pond, the BBC regularly tells us that the NHS is second only to the PLA [Chinese Army] in terms of the world's biggest employers. Who are these DoD upstarts? ...and what is the truth?

    1. P. Lee Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      Re: Size isn't everything, but...

      > and what is the truth?

      the first casualty of war.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Size isn't everything, but...

      These are probably two different metrics? Total employees != bums @ terminals != gross budget. They're using statistics, so they could mean anything! Presumably a greater proportion of NHS employees have better things to do than sit at their new Win 8 machine and fiddle with their Facebook profile so NHS could well be "smaller" in the general context of the article... I doubt that's anything to do with whatever bizarre manner they've spun this little statoid for this little propaganda belch though.

      Being Yanks, my bet's on this particular "largest" being "grossest budget" ;o)

    3. Magnus_Pym

      Re: Size isn't everything, but...

      I thought it was the Indian Railways that turned out to be the worlds largest employer.

      1. Bugs R Us

        Re: Size isn't everything, but...

        Googel Now came up with:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_largest_employers

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Darkness spreads over middle earth...

    The two most evil entities hastily work together to bring you death, destruction, confusion, and chaos. HHOS.

  24. DaveTheX
    Childcatcher

    Biggest Employer

    Isn't the PLA a larger employer, what with having many more employees and all? Maybe DoD is the biggest employer of office/computer-using staff??

  25. Measurer
    Black Helicopters

    Windows 4......

    Warmongers?

  26. Bugs R Us
    Thumb Up

    Reality check

    DoD: Largest employer on the planet

    Microsoft: Largest software company on the planet

    United States economy: WIN WIN

    DoD IT jobs: WIN WIN

    No one cares about the headline deal value. You have to be pretty naive to believe this is just another standard enterprise deal. The finer details will never become public. DoD will get special treatment.

    As for the "my OS is better than your OS" crap; only geeks could give a crap. Get 90% of the business world onto a Linux and malware developers will shift focus. They are a tenacious lot, they will rapidly find security holes in Linux apps too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Reality check

      United States economy: WIN WIN

      Reality check of your reality check: Microsoft ships profits abroad.

      As for the better/worse: let's just hope none of this new software is deployed anywhere near theatre. Would you want to be in a war on Patch Tuesday?

  27. Tezfair
    Stop

    Downgrade Rights?

    Maybe the plan was to buy up really cheap licenses because MS are not shifting the titles in great quantities, and then using the downgrade rights to go back to W7 / O2012 etc

    This seems more logical

  28. N2 Silver badge

    And

    The three year project to get rid of the awkward, buggy Microsoft software is underway

  29. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Juan Inamillion
      Coat

      Re: Military using windows

      Sorry just have to....

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UbtcmjfKa8

  30. plrndl
    Linux

    Money for Nothing

    So that's only $350 per head for nothing. What a deal!

  31. Tank boy
    Linux

    Keep It Simple Stupid

    There is better software out there, but the most likely users are people that know the Microsoft brand. There is no goodness in trying to retrain people when the turnover rate is high and likely to get higher with downsizing.

    The folks that have to mind all the systems will more than likely use whatever they like to get the job(s) done, but for the unwashed masses, Windows is still good enough.

    Linux is still alive and well in the military thankfully (Former Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff is a part of Red Hat), but it's just not quite ready for everyone yet.

  32. Zmodem

    its a good job it takes 7 days to delete a folder of mpeg`s like windows 7

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      .. must have made you nervous getting rid of your pr0n so slowly :)

      1. Zmodem

        have to delete the ones you download and left after the screensaver trim action

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