British study: schools can save by ditching Microsoft

A study by Britain’s Educational Communications and Technology Association found that primary schools in the UK could cut their computer costs significantly by avoiding software from Microsoft.
Results of the study, which are due to be released next week, were reported on Friday by The Times Educational Supplement, a British paper. The TES said that the study doesn’t actually use Microsoft’s name, but leaves little doubt by referring to the world’s largest software maker.
According to the paper, the study compared costs at 33 schools that employ commercial software and 15 using open source. The study finds that the open source-based schools saved an average of 24 percent on software, hardware and support, again according to the TES report.

[Via CNET]

I will try an find the original report as well. As it is a government related study it must be public. The approach and comparison can be very shortsighted. Commercial software and open source are 2 different business models to start with. Comparing just the up front out of pocket expenses (purchase price of the software) is hardly good business practice. What about :

  • Training of support staff for implementation and maintenance of open source software
  • Available 3rd parties for support, ISV’s, etc.
  • Students that are educated on and with the defacto standard in productivity software (MS Office 🙂 ) vs Open source solutions that have limited / no presence in the market / the organsiations they will be employed in in the future.
  • the fact that pricing of commercial software for the education market is very low by default, I think this goed for every commercial software company.

    More when I dig up the report with, I assume, all the motivations for this “advise”.

    Update 8/5/05 : Found it (almost that is) :

    “In a report to be published next week, obtained by The TES, Becta will highlight schools which have turned to free software instead of the market leaders products. Becta does not name Microsoft in its analysis. But almost all schools use some of the companys products.”

    So next week ? …