The Department for Education claims a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Microsoft will save schools £10m on licensing over the next three years, in part by "factoring freeware" into the deal.
The agreement began 1 January and runs until the end of 2015 giving schools across the UK the option to buy Microsoft academic software at "improved discounts and better licensing terms", said the DfE.
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"Schools spend a significant amount on software licensing," said Education Secretary Michael Gove, who didn't say how much nor how the government reached the £10m figure.
"Through this new agreement we can make sure more money goes on front-line teaching," he added.
The licensing framework was set up by Government Procurement Services, which also brokered deals between Microsoft and the Cabinet Office last year.
The spokeswoman at DfE, told us the licensing arrangement was expected to save government £10m over three years but was unable to breakdown those savings, or detail schools spend during that period.
The PR voice box claimed schools will have "more flexibility" in the way they license Microsoft software, and can opt for "more cost effective choices that include "using alternative and free to use software".
Schools can continue to buy new or upgrade Microsoft licences, there is no obligation to buy stuff from the Redmond software giant though, and under the terms of the deal they will not be penalised for using an alternative.
"The MoU enables schools to operate a mixed economy of Microsoft software with other alternative vendor solutions without many of the previous disadvantageous Microsoft licensing consequences," said the DfE. ®