U.K. government to drop Microsoft Office in favor of open-source software

The Cabinet Office is set to advise government to standardize on file formats in order to end its dependence on proprietary software such as Microsoft Office. Cabinet Minister Francis Maude is expected to announce today plans to break away from expensive proprietary software, according to a Press Association report, which said £200 million has been spent by the government on Microsoft’s Office alone since 2010.

Ministers are looking at saving tens of millions of pounds a year by abandoning expensive software produced by firms such as Microsoft. Some £200m has been spent by the public sector on the computer giant’s Office suite alone since 2010. But the Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude believes a significant proportion of that outlay could be cut by switching to “open-source” software, such as OpenOffice. Document formats are set to be standardized across Whitehall to help break the “oligopoly” of IT suppliers, and improve communications between civil servants. The proposal is part of the coalition’s drive to make its procurement more effective and efficient.

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