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Israeli govt says will not renew software licensing agreement with Microsoft

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The Israeli government said it will not renew a contract for various Microsoft desktop software at the end of the year, Reuters reported. The government said a change in the licence terms would double the price. Under its current framework agreement with Microsoft, Israel pays more than ILS 100 million a year for the procurement of Office desktop software, Windows and server software for ministries and government offices.

According to the Finance Ministry, Microsoft is trying to shift Israel from a licensing system where it owns the software and can use the software as it wishes, to a subscription system that is similar to renting. The ministry said that the change, which includes moving data to the cloud, does not meet the government’s needs. It said the state had been negotiating with Microsoft officials in Israel for a year to no avail. Microsoft in Israel declined to comment.

Israel plans to freeze the existing licence structure owned by government ministries, which may be used without further payment. The ministry said this will also encourage government ministries to re-examine their needs to use Microsoft technology, or switch to alternatives.