Dell recommends Windows 8.

US Defense Department Bets on Win 8

Susan Fogarty, Editor in Chief, IT Migration Zone | 1/7/2013 | 28 comments

Susan Fogarty
Microsoft has signed a $617 million agreement with the US Department of Defense that will bring Windows 8, Office 2013, and SharePoint 2013 to 330,000 government workers.

The deal, which Microsoft announced on Friday, will provide three years of software licensing for 75 percent of personnel in the US Army, the US Air Force, and the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). Insight Public Sector, a Microsoft reseller, brokered the cross-agency deal.

Employees will immediately begin using Windows 8 and standardizing on Office 2013 and SharePoint 2013 Enterprise. Microsoft said the common platforms will foster collaboration and information sharing across the Department of Defense and support its priorities of datacenter consolidation, collaboration, cybersecurity, mobility, cloud computing, and big data.

The Windows 8 platform has been drawing a cool reception from users. This deal, the most comprehensive licensing agreement Microsoft has made with the DoD to date, could help boost acceptance among enetrprises or other government agencies while lowering licensing costs for the US government.

"There's a move afoot throughout the department to bring about efficiencies" in information technology, David L. DeVries, deputy chief information officer at the DoD, told the American Forces Press Service. "We took a long, hard look at it... realizing that the Department of Defense relies upon the network and upon information technology to do its business."

The licensing deal is also designed to help advance the DoD's continued focus on mobile computing. The agreement "recognizes the shift to mobility," Navy Rear Adm. David G. Simpson, the DISA's vice director and senior procurement executive, told the American Forces Press Service. "Microsoft is committed to making sure that the technology within the agreement has a mobile-first focus, and we expect to begin to take advantage of Microsoft's mobile offerings as part of our enterprise mobility ecosystem."

The software package has been customized to meet the DoD's security needs. The Army and Air Force negotiated with Microsoft to meet complex technical and security requirements. As David Wagner told us in October, security features have been improved in the latest Windows iteration, and DoD use may help to highlight those improvements.

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Toby   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/19/2013 9:10:24 AM
Re: Win 8
@Susan: Think of it the other way around. If the DoD had chosen some other vendor, the slap in the face would have been devastating. I wouldn't be surprised if there are a lot of other goodies in there.
SaneIT   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/19/2013 8:57:54 AM
Re: Win 8
Do you think Microsoft has to be lobbying to get a contract like the DoD?  Would they really switch from a Microsoft OS to a *nix variant?  That just doesn't seem likely unless Microsoft really upset someone at the DoD.
Susan Fogarty   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 2:06:04 PM
Re: Win 8
I think Randomus is right and there is a lot of undiscolsed extra security going on with this deal. I am not suprised at all that the federal government would go with Microsoft -- it's the most obvious choice for any traditional business, MS certainly has the corporate firepower to close the deal, and it keeps a lot of people in the US happy at the same time. What's surprising is the timing and how aggressively they are moving to the new platform.
Randomus   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 12:22:17 PM
Re: Win 8
SaneIT: Of course there is lobbying and incentives offered – and I'm sure Microsoft offered to work with partners to make tweaks and ensure there are added layers of security involved.
Randomus   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 12:21:27 PM
Re: Win 8
Tuscany: Why?  If you want to work in the business world and use some type of corporate software or CRM, chances are extremely high that it's going to be Microsoft-powered.  Red Hat leads the enterprise Linux effort, but closed source software still leads the way.
SaneIT   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 7:44:00 AM
Re: Win 8
I wonder the same.  I don't doubt that someone with a Linux variant tried to get in the door but I do wonder if anyone else was really considered and how much of the negotiation was just working anyone against MS to get what they wanted.
SaneIT   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 7:41:57 AM
Re: Win 8
I'd be interested in seeing how MS functions inside government circles.  I know there has to be some level of lobbying since the government has some specific purchasing requirements and getting in that door requires making connections. I just wonder who is steering who in the relationship.
Toby   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 6:49:58 AM
And if it all gets infected..?
Frankly I am surprised there were no caveats (or maybe there are) that guarantee that the DoD gets something more virus proof than Windows. Granted it has come a llong way in the last ten years but the reality is that because it has been so easy to bust up until recently, there is still a surge of hackers out there who will have a shot at it.

Tuscany   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 4:46:22 AM
Re: Win 8
We really should not underestimate the amount of influence MS has in Washington, seen as experts in the field, the contract came rather easily it appears.
Tuscany   US Defense Department Bets on Win 8   2/18/2013 4:44:16 AM
Re: Feedback
As a Linux and Apple user, it really seems odd that MS is powering the World.
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