The Slovak government agreed on May 23 that a multi-million euro licence agreement between the state and Microsoft will be extended for another three years, the TASR newswire reported.
The state will pay €17.53 million in 2012, €16.83 million in 2013 and €17.18 million in 2014 for Microsoft's services under the extended contract. The government of Prime Minister Robert Fico took action to extend the agreement after the previous cabinet in March decided to leave the decision up to the new government. Radičová justified her decision because of the large amount of money involved. Prior to its decision the government had prepared a detailed analysis of how many licences are needed and how the licenses are being used in state offices, TASR wrote.
"The outcome of the negotiations with Microsoft is that there is a possibility to terminate the contract each year throughout the duration of the contract without any sanctions," according to a statement from the Finance Ministry. "At the same time if the agreement is signed before the end of May, we are entitled to a discount of 2 percent," the statement says.
Originally, the former government's finance minister Ivan Mikloš planned to extend the contract with Microsoft for three years and attempted to enact legislation in fast-tracked procedures but this approach was aborted in the wake of harsh criticism from the Fair-Play Alliance NGO and some partners in the past coalition.
The Fair-Play Alliance criticised extension of the licence agreement, saying that the state does not know how Microsoft products have been used to date. Its statement, as reported by TASR, pointed out that the contract will be extended "without the state having a clear picture of the individual needs of state offices." The NGO further claimed that signing the agreement was not preceded by a standard tender process and that a different kind of agreement would be much cheaper.
The multi-licence Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is designed to supply software for state-owned computers such as desktop operating systems, Microsoft Office products and others. The total cost of the three-year extension is €51 million.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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