One more reason for open source: Australia blows $51 million on Microsoft Office

Australia blew $51 million on Microsoft Office licenses for computers that didn't need the software. You just couldn't make that kind of mistake with open source.

Australia just got hit with $51 million in license fees for Microsoft Office on computers that didn't need the software.

Opposition Leader Martin Hamilton-Smith yesterday said the computer "blunder" saw thousands of Health Department computers loaded up with $675 versions of Microsoft Office software, which the computers did not use or need. Just 4000 of the 16,000 computers actually used the software, Mr Hamilton-Smith told Parliament.

Health Minister John Hill was quick to defend the decision and insisted that all of the licenses are in use (on "computers that monitored patients, analysed pathology data or kept patient records and staff records using specific software designed for those purposes" - bet they had a desperate need for PowerPoint :-). But the issue won't die down, and is a testament to the silly licensing gymnastics that proprietary vendors go through to squeeze money from customers.

This couldn't happen with open source. Even if a company overbought upfront, it cut could its losses at the end of the year by reducing its subscription count. Open source is a better way to do business. Even Down Under.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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