US Department of Defense to sling an estimated $3.17bn at Microsoft resellers

Cash to be splashed over 10 years on software sporting a Microsoft badge

The US Department of Defense has signed up for an estimated $3.17bn worth of Microsoft software via a classic procurement framework.

The six lucky Microsoft resellers include Dell Federal Systems, Insight Enterprises and SHI, according to the DoD's official line-up.

895 vendors pitched for the cash, but only six made the cut.

The Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) allows the DoD, US Intelligence community and the US Coast Guard to pick up Microsoft-branded software, either as perpetual licences or on subscription. It lasts for 10 years, to November 2028.

The deal was done under the DoD's Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI), by which requirements within the agency are pooled together in order to secure discounts from suppliers. The DoD has trumpeted savings of up to 48 per cent on the wares of Red Hat and claims it has knocked Microsoft resellers down by 38 per cent in the past. Alas, it has only managed to secure a meagre 4 per cent discount on Microsoft's Premier Support Services.

According to the DoD: "ESI streamlines software licensing acquisition and provides information technology products that are compliant with DoD technical standards and represent the best value for the DoD."

Tech that is "compliant" and "best value" will be music to the ears of those at Microsoft charged with persuading the Pentagon that Redmond would be the best home for the $10bn due to be flung at the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure (JEDI) programme over the next 10 years.

As for the current winners, the DoD is quick to say "this agreement will not obligate funds at the time of award". So maybe leave the Champagne on ice for the time being.

The Microsoft products concerned consist of operating systems, virtualization, management tools, mobility and software assurance. The agencies can also order up "desktop software solutions" if they should so desire. ®

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