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Oracle forges software deal with U.K.

The database giant inks a three-year agreement to supply government agencies of the United Kingdom with database software and other products at a discount.

Oracle has inked a three-year agreement to supply government agencies of the United Kingdom with database software and other products at a discount.

The deal, which Oracle announced Thursday, gives the United Kingdom the same volume discount on all Oracle software that the software maker offers to the United States government. It also calls for Oracle to help the government develop standard computing systems across its agencies and departments by replacing older software.

Although the agreement doesn't involve an actual licensing contract, Oracle expects the deal to generate "significant" value for the company, Oracle spokesman Dave Samson said.

Previously, various U.K. government agencies bought software from Oracle independently of one another, negotiating different prices. This agreement, set up through the United Kingdom's Government Commerce office, a purchasing arm for the country, gives all agencies the same prices. The agreement doesn't require the government to spend a specific sum on Oracle products in order to get the special prices, Samson said.

The deal is not the same kind of contract Oracle signed and later cancelled with the state of California last year, Samson said. That contract, known as an "enterprise licensing agreement," put the state on the hook to purchase tens of millions of dollars of software from Oracle, enough to cover every state employee. The flap created by a state audit and legislative hearing into the deal ultimately ended in the state of California nullifying the contract.

Oracle's agreement with the United Kingdom comes after the software maker's recent push to ink business deals in the public sector amid depressed corporate spending. Earlier this week, an Oracle executive said the company is expecting to benefit from increased government spending on security.