VA cancels component of Microsoft licensing agreement

The Veterans Affairs Department has pulled the plug on a Microsoft licensing agreement in which the agency paid an annual fee to lock in savings on future software upgrades, Nextgov reports.

A Microsoft Software Assurance for Volume Licensing agreement typically requires customers to pay an annual fee of 29 percent for desktop software and server software, according to Nextgov. VA CIO Roger Baker announced the decision to discontinue the deal in a March 30 memo to VA’s IT staff.

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Reader comments

Thu, Apr 5, 2012

It really should be against policy for government agencies to engage in ELAs such as this. They limit open competition, and can preclude agencies from using the best solution for a particular task. Software companies, Microsoft in particular, are adept at "throwing in" small numbers of licenses for free. Once that happens, it makes it very hard for an agency to select another solution that may be better suited for the job or have a lower overall TCO, simply because "we already paid for the licenses!" In my view, agencies should be able to enter into omnibus licensing agreements for products that they already use. Paying annually to keep your prices lower in the future sounds an awful lot like a protection racket ("nice software licenses you have there, be a shame if those prices went way up now wouldn't it?") and policies should be in place to prevent this.

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