back to article UK.gov splashes out on 40,000 new devices amid COVID-19-fuelled homeworking boom

Key British government departments have bought thousands of new devices to cope with the COVID-19-fuelled homeworking boom – as well as signing up for unprecedented numbers of accounts with videoconferencing services. The Ministry of Defence, for example, ordered 13,500 laptops, more than 3,200 tablets and 2,200 phones since …

  1. WolfFan Silver badge

    ‘68 iPhone 6s”

    Really? IPhone 6 or 6s, it’s not clear which? The iPhone 6 is ancient, and no longer gets the latest OSes, and is due to go completely out of support in the next two-three years. It’s still getting security updates, including yesterday’s update to 12.4.7. It is effectively unsalable, I got a SE 2020 to replace my 6 and the best offer I got to buy the 6 was $60, so the 6 is now my spare phone. I’ll plug it in to power to get the battery back to 100% and to download the update later today. The 6s is one year less ancient, is barely salable, is still able to get the latest OS, until September/October this year when it will join the 6 on the no-longer-supported pile. Is HM Gov so penny-wise and pound-foolish that they didn’t go for a 8, or at least a 7, instead? Or is it that someone’s second cousin had a pile of unsalable 6s or 6ss and HM Gov is, um, helping them out? Or are they really that cheap and have not the slightest idea about future-proofing?

    1. Nifty

      Re: ‘68 iPhone 6s”

      Because they couldn't afford the wireless earphones needed to conf call on an 7 or higher

    2. jeremylloyd

      Re: ‘68 iPhone 6s”

      The security updates the iPhone 6 receives does not qualify for compliance with Cyber Essentials. Only iPhones on the most current version comply with Cyber Essentials... given UK GOV/MOD are requiring Cyber Essentials Plus compliance from suppliers, it would be pretty damn stupid to buy an iPhone 6.

    3. Toni the terrible

      Re: ‘68 iPhone 6s”

      They are that cheap and stupid

  2. Chris Miller

    the MoD had also purchased a whopping 9,476 Office 365 licences. Mr Nadella and the crew in Redmond will be rubbing their hands together with glee.

    A single copy of Microsoft 365 for Business is £45 pa. I sincerely hope that even the bozos in MoD purchasing could get some sort of discount for 10,000 off. But even on such a silly basis, that's under $500k pa (or 1/250,000 of Microsoft revenue). A lot of money to me, but I doubt any Microsoft salesdroids will be bathing in champagne as a result.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      There are other benefits

      Once you have the MOD spaffing out on Orofice365, they are completely open to any security infringements MS may want to pull on behalf the NSA, CIA, FBI or any other criminal organisation that is either fronted by the US government or has lots of money to play with.

      This could be very profitable indeed!

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      £45/year means NPV is £150 even assuming zero profit for the first year, a 5% discount rate and only five years of payments. So triple your initial revenue estimate.

      Now add 20% support fees, chuck in the inevitable additions around single sign-on, cloud storage and other services then start looking at the new opportunities getting your foot in the door just opened up.

      Yeah, someone in sales just picked up a new car from this one, they may not be bathing in champagne but I'm betting a bottle or two was drunk.

    3. Robert Grant Silver badge

      The MOD have McKinsey negotiating on their behalf.

      Their shrewd negotiators, who all happen to have upcoming careers at Microsoft, managed to get it down to only £250 per head per year.

  3. Missing Semicolon
    WTF?

    Buying more MS licenses?

    Isn't there some kind of multi-spangly-million framework agreement thingy with Microsoft for Government departments? Much touted as being super-good value?

  4. Missing Semicolon
    Devil

    13,000 laptops

    I bet they aren't £400 cheapy basic ones for all the drones. I wonder how many top-range Surfaces got sneaked in!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 13,000 laptops

      HMRC gave everyone a surface pro. Most people have a 4 or 5.

      Apparently the next refresh wont be getting something that swanky.

      1. NeilPost Bronze badge

        Re: 13,000 laptops

        I hope they also gave them a mouse, keyboard, USB C HDMI adapter and external 27” screen.

        Otherwise the HMRC bean counters won’t be able to differentiate between £10,000,000,000 and £100,000,000 in Excel modelling and basic adding shit up for money they are pumping out.

    2. SkippyBing Silver badge

      Re: 13,000 laptops

      If it's the MoD there's a very limited range available in the IT catalogue so you're not getting a Surface Pro. On the plus side even the lowest spec models are powerful enough to run the required applications, which is an improvement.

      My understanding is that MoD were planning on rolling out more laptops plus docking stations to replace desktops, but COVID-19 happened first delaying things. So the ~10,000 they've acquired are probably unrelated to the illness itself more the new financial year kicking in.

  5. x 7

    A phone call to NHS England to see how man they've purchased might be interesting............

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      You can use them as face masks right?

    2. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Enterprise McAfee Total Virus Defence.

      1. LucreLout Silver badge
        Joke

        Enterprise McAfee Total Virus Defence.

        Does that run on XP? Joking... wish I was....

  6. Lazlo Woodbine Bronze badge

    Office 365

    If Government departments are already using Office 365 why do they need extra licences? Doesn't a single licence allow for use on 5 PCs / Macs and 5 devices?

    1. NeilPost Bronze badge

      Re: Office 365

      Depends why you buy, but I’d be certain they will have ‘Home Use Rights’ or be part of a Microsoft Home Use Program where you can get a full individual copy for £10/pop. When I was at BT we had this available.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Office 365

        The home use scheme seems to have all but disappeared now - you basically get a small discount on an annual Office 365 subscription for home.

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