Microsoft has offered a new licence deal to the UK public sector, following negotiations with local government user group the Society of IT Managers (Socitm).
Socitm has been in negotiations with Microsoft in an attempt to reduce the costs of changes in the software giant's licensing, which Socitm believes could cost local authorities as much as £80m over the next two years.
The new proposals for a National Enterprise Agreement replace the proposals made last October.
Socitm national secretary Bob Griffith said that the new offer was a step forward and that the terms were "better", but refused to comment further.
He maintained that a deal could still be in place by February. "That is what people are looking for and that hasn't changed," he said.
But in a note on the Socitm website, Microsoft has claimed that the new deal includes "some major changes/enhancements to the Microsoft offer on both Select and Enterprise Agreements compared to version one".
Socitm explained that the software giant's original licensing proposals could lead some authorities to change platforms, or simply adopt a no-upgrade policy. It is advising members considering signing up to Microsoft's original proposals to hold on for the moment.
Microsoft is signing large deals with a number of customers in the public and private sector, including the NHS and the Ministry of Defence.
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