What the heck is the British government thinking? Opting for Microsoft instead of using open source? That doesn’t make sense, right? After all, Microsoft is not exactly known for having the most affordable pricing schemes, while open source, as we all know, is all about making software available for free. So what’s the deal here?

In an interview, Jos Creese, Chief Information Officer for Hampshire, sheds some light on this government decision, which is obviously a delight to the Microsoft bosses (not to mention shareholders). It may sound counter-intuitive, but the decision to use Microsoft products and services boils down to the cost.

But how is this possible when open source is free from the get go? There’s absolutely no cost involved! Compare that to the (in)famous licensing fees of Microsoft…

British Government Goes For Microsoft Instead Of Open Source

As Rich Edmonds of wpcentral explains, “it depends on deployment, support and all other management costs that are calculated when deciding on business plans. This is what Creese notes as being more affordable with Redmond, since everything is included and Microsoft already has management tools available for IT departments.”

So yeah, basically it’s not all about the outright cost of the software, but also the maintenance and after purchase services. There is also the important consideration that Microsoft has been very flexible when it comes to dealing with governments in terms of deploying their products and services. More than that, even licensing fees are subject to discounts, more than “ordinary” customers usually experience.

On the other hand, this kind of support and flexibility is not really available in the open source world. Devs (and the community) make their products available for free, you can’t really demand the same level of “after purchase” support from them, can you?

So, putting all the factors together, tallying up the costs, and probably poring over spreadsheets, the British government bean counters have decided that going for Microsoft instead of open source is the best route to take. Surprising?

[Image via v3]