GSA's terms for Microsoft site licenses include upgrades of OSes andapplications

The General Services Administration has bought a three-year site license for Microsoft
Corp. products for its 13,000 users.

The $3.3 million delivery order, under Unisys Corp.’s GSA Systems contract, covers
Microsoft Windows 9x, Windows NT Workstation and Server 4.0, Office Professional and
Standard, and client access licenses for Microsoft SQL Server and Systems Management
Server, said Mark Miller, the team leader for GSA’s Acquisition Management Team.

The license, purchased in September, includes software upgrades but not help desk
support. It will probably be transferred to a Seat Management Program vendor when GSA
selects one.

“This helps our facilities standardize on one platform,” said Dave Mason,
leader of the Infrastructure Strategy Team.

Until now, the agency has had three Microsoft licenses and a quantity discount plan,
Miller said. GSA also holds a master license agreement for Novell Inc. software.

One shortcoming to the license agreement, at least in the short term, is that many PC
makers automatically preinstall Microsoft operating systems and Office.

The manufacturers have no incentive to give organizations such as GSA a price break for
leaving off the Microsoft software, because they must pay a set fee to Microsoft for each
system they sell, according to vendors.

GSA’s organizations banded together to fund the site license to gain more
flexibility for themselves as well as bigger volume discounts, Miller said. “From
what I can see, we’re not the first agency doing this,” he said.

The licensing terms came about after a contracting officer approved a modification to
GSA Systems, resulting from changes in Microsoft’s enterprise licensing agreements,
he said.

At the end of each year, GSA will inventory its client and server hardware and will
have to pay Unisys more money if the number of PCs goes up, he said.  

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