Govt, Microsoft sign on dotted line

The G2003 agreement between Microsoft and New Zealand government agencies on licensing terms for Microsoft software was formally signed this week, and looks to have contained or even reduced costs for 'most' agencies. But few details of the agreement are available.

The G2003 agreement between Microsoft and New Zealand government agencies on licensing terms for Microsoft software was formally signed this week, and looks to have contained or even reduced costs for "most" agencies. But few details of the agreement are available.

Details of the G2003 terms are the subject of commercial confidentiality agreements, says Internal Affairs information and facilities manager Alison Fleming, who headed a team of eight government agency representatives negotiating the agreement.

The G2003 negotiations were originally expected to be concluded by about February. Questioned on the delay last month, negotiating team member Warwick Sullivan of the NZ Defence Force said there was nothing specific holding the process up, just legal details.

The suite of agreements replaces the G2000 group agreements, which expire between this month and September.

G2003 will be optional and Fleming says it will have "at least three different levels" under which agencies can purchase, depending on their size and extent of use of Microsoft products.

The cost of Microsoft software under the agreement "is not going to rise", Fleming says. "The expectation is that for most govenment agencies, it will fall, but there will always be exceptions."

Earlier this year, Fleming said "considerably more" government departments were showing interest in the G2003 contract than in the G2000 contract, but she says it is impossible to predict how this will translate into actual participation.

"We have negotiated an umbrella agreement," Fleming says. "It is now up to Microsoft and the agencies who wish to be involved to negotiate participation [at an appropriate level]." She expects it to be around another three months before all individual arrangments are concluded.

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