Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sole source hypocrisy; why does Canadian government not open bid office software suites?

The Canadian government has strict rules on contracting, one cannot get a sole source contract without justifying that there is no other supplier that can compete. That regulation is to improve competition and reduce cost for items.

But there is a huge hypocrisy when it comes to Microsoft. Can anyone claim theirs is the only software and Microsoft is the only company that can make office software like word processors and spreadsheets? Google gives away cloud based office apps for free. Linux is free and open. Even apple can do it. Open office is free.  I'm sure any large tech mop any could setup a cloud service for less than we pay for office.

I'm sure some smaller company would spend many man years effort if they could undercut Microsoft.  

What makes it worse is that all file formats that Microsoft protects have been duplicated at will by everyone.  So there is no technical reason to justify sole source.

Legally, the government can fair use for anything, they aren't locked in. They can even use eminent domain.  By deferring to Microsoft they are not competitive friendly, not business friendly but monopoly friendly.

So why doesn't the government open tender for all government?  The answer lies somewhere between reverence for Microsoft (misplaced since it makes crappy software ) and a refusal by office staff to change.  And perhaps some argument about the retraining and renewal process. But here's reality, if you pay less for software you can use that same budget for all.

All this adds up to waste that the conservatives promised to deliver.