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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer  (Source: intomobile)
New contract saves DOD licensing fees, gives it access to Windows 8, Sharepoint 2013, and Office 2013

David L. DeVries has a tough job, serving as a deputy chief information officer (CIO) of one of the world's largest and most high tech organizations -- the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).  Mr. DeVries made a bold move signing a new three-year enterprise licensing deal with Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) to adopt Windows 8 and other cutting edge products.

I. Armed Forces Hop Onboard Windows 8

Given its touch-friendly user interface and consumer focus many power users, analysts, and tech enthusiasts expressed concerns about how the new Microsoft operating system would fare in the enterprise space.  Indeed, even in the consumer sector reports have been mixed regarding the platform's sales health.

While the DOD pickup is unlikely to silence the critics, it is a major score for Microsoft.  While its deployment may take a year or two, the DOD is the largest organization to commit to shifting at least some of its users onto the new Microsoft platform.
Windows 8 Surface
The DOD is reloading with Microsoft Windows 8. [Image Source: Microsoft]

The deal also is good for Microsoft's latest and greatest secure networking software, including Sharepoint 2013.  Also included is Microsoft's latest Office 2013 software, which launched in December.

Mr. DeVries comments, "How do we bring about better effectiveness for the warfighter, better improved security on the networks ... while reducing the cost of ownership?  We are the largest corporation out there, comprised of four military services. … No one comes close to our scale, so when we talk about something that produces a standardized way of buying, installing and maintaining [enterprise software], that’s a huge deal."

"There’s a move afoot throughout the department to bring about efficiencies in the [information technology] world.  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 arrangement seems mutually beneficial.  For the DOD they will consolidate multiple smaller licenses from the four military service branches into a single, more stable contract.  The DOD estimates this will save "tens of millions over the course of several years through lower license and software assurance costs."

Microsoft, meanwhile gains a high profile advocate of its embattled Windows 8, should save some overhead on its end as well via consolidation, and safeguards itself against the volatility of multiple smaller contracts.

II. Commanders Praise Microsoft's Focus on Mobility

While some view Microsoft's newfound zeal for mobility to be a massive headache from an information technology perspective, Navy Rear Adm. David G. Simpson, DISA’s vice director and senior procurement executive, argues that for organizations willing to embrace the future it is a massive opportunity.

U.S. Navy
U.S. Navy commanders expressed excitement at Microsoft's new mobile focus, which they view as perfect for their highly mobile service force. [Image Source:]

He comments, "The agreement] recognizes the shift to mobility.  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.  Bottom line: lower price for greater value."

The press release did not mention Microsoft's smartphone platform Windows Phone.   However, it is known that the DOD is currently working on mobile device management (MDM) software to support other platforms besides Research in Motion, Ltd.'s (TSE:RIM) fading BlackBerry platform, which comprises most of its current issued handsets.

Of course DOD IT sentiments should not necessarily be viewed as indicative of those of the greater IT community at large.  The U.S. Army infamously committed to the much-criticized Windows Vista, back in 2009, declining to move on to the latest Windows 7 release.


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Our tax dollars at work
By AssSpelunker on 1/3/2013 2:05:33 PM , Rating: 4
$617 million for an unnecessary change that most will see as a difficult to use "downgrade"... Makes sense

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By retrospooty on 1/3/2013 2:12:56 PM , Rating: 3
Yup... that is one shining example of what goes on everywhere. The DOD did that, and another govt. branch buys 200 standard wooden handle hammers at $199 each, while another pays 8x the going rate for carpet to have the office re-carpeted. Why? The software maker, tool manufacturer and carpet company paid hefty campaign contributions to both dems and reps in congress to vote their way when needed and grant lucrative contracts to... That is where our money goes. Its not really "mis-spending" and "inefficiency" so much as it is downright crime.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By chripuck on 1/3/2013 2:41:52 PM , Rating: 1
You clearly have no clue how budgeting works in any large organization, government or otherwise.

The facts are as simple as this: if you don't use your budget in full this year, it WILL be reduced next year. What commanding officer, SVP or other leader wants their allotment of the pie to be smaller? None, so they spend it on anything they can so that their budget stays the same.

There are no shadow organizations, lobbyists don't have direct access to the DoD and a few senators don't have the collective push to force someone who reports to the President to do their bidding. Stop drinking the kool-aid...

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By retrospooty on 1/3/2013 2:54:39 PM , Rating: 5
Direct access? No. Push with purchasing decisions? Hell yes they do. The govt. is FULL of gross mis-spending at all levels. The benefit going to govt. officials corporate "sponsors". If you can't see that, then I would say its you that needs to stop drinking the kool-aid.

"if you don't use your budget in full this year, it WILL be reduced next year"

This is true to an extent, but doesn't justify buying $400 toilet seat covers.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By ebakke on 1/3/2013 3:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
<quote they spend it on anything they can so that their budget stays the same. I don't disagree with your analysis on what happens. However, this is exactly why we need across the board cuts. Let's start with 10-15% of every department.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By Zuul on 1/3/2013 3:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
I agree - often people completely do not understand how budgeting works.

I'm just glad they actually bought something they could use. In a few places i've worked, some teams will have extra budget at the end of the year and end up buying things like pickup trucks that they just dump in the middle of some mudhole so they don't lose that part of their budget.

If you have a surplus in your budget, they simply deduct that surplus out of your budget next year. The incentive to save money happens at the transactional level while there's no incentive to save at a budget level. A few companies have been looking at zero-based budgeting. However, that puts significant administrative burden because before you get dollars, you have to justify every dollar spent upfront. In theory it sounds good, in practice, it prevents the company from being more nimble and prolongs the procurement cycle.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By 91TTZ on 1/3/2013 4:48:08 PM , Rating: 2
In other words, there's no massive conspiracy to waste the taxpayers' money, it's just good old fashioned greed combined with a budgeting system designed to encourage continuously increased spending.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By Zaranthos on 1/3/2013 5:11:05 PM , Rating: 3
Mmm, kool-aid. Because our massive debt shouldn't make anyone think about spending less because spending more is the best thing for the country. Fail.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By timothyd97402 on 1/3/2013 3:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
Do much research first or just spout off with anecdotes that have been floating around for years? I am sick of government bashing clods tearing down our country.

There probably is a graft, corruption, wink and nod going on. If you have any evidence there are whistleblower hotlines to call. If you don't why are you posting?

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By retrospooty on 1/3/2013 3:45:03 PM , Rating: 2

Do you really think this stuff happens by accident?

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By Paj on 1/4/2013 7:21:03 AM , Rating: 4
But hey, its OK to fund the military industrial complex and make a bunch of cool planes and stuff, amirite?

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By Arsynic on 1/3/2013 2:20:48 PM , Rating: 4
This isn't an "unnecessary" change. The DoD isn't immune to the BYOD i-thing plague infecting the enterprise. Prior to Windows 8, i-Things were the only viable and user-friendly touch interface devices in the enterprise. Windows 8 allows them to introduce these user-friendly touch devices without overhauling their infrastructure to protect against the new security threats introduced by BYOD.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By Argon18 on 1/3/13, Rating: -1
By damianrobertjones on 1/3/2013 5:09:16 PM , Rating: 3

In over 12 years where I work we've not had ONE virus outbreak as it's controlled via centrally managed facilities, WSUS, group policy and a very nice firewall.

There is NO excuse for viruses in business.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By djc208 on 1/3/2013 5:57:35 PM , Rating: 2
Pot, its the kettle, you're black.

There are viruses for Apple products, and above that there is plenty of off the shelf and custom software that is not or could not be run on OS X.

Plus the DOD has thousands and thousands of computers in many different roles. Can you imagine the cost of buying overpriced Apple PCs to replace all of those machines? Not to mention there are no Apple versions of some of the machines they use, like the hardened laptops used in the field.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By Zok on 1/3/2013 2:26:10 PM , Rating: 2
It may sound like a waste, but you have to consider that the DoD employs ~ 700,000 civilians and ~1,420,000 active duty military personnel (plus 1,100,000 reserves). If you only include civilians and active duty military, that's under $300/person for licenses for Windows, Office, Sharepoint, and (most importantly!) top-tier support. Additionally, it's likely that there are more license "seats" than personnel (there are more PCs than people), plus licenses for reserves, it may very well be under $200 per seat. That's a very good deal if you ask me.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By Schmide on 1/3/2013 5:03:08 PM , Rating: 5
This just in Start8 sings a contract for 10mil.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By unimatrix725 on 1/3/2013 3:29:45 PM , Rating: 2
Perhaps a new birth for "Super Flame/Stux"? If the govt has early access they also have early access to zero day exploits. Granted it may take awhile for adversary governments to upgrade, but when they do....

By damianrobertjones on 1/3/2013 5:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
Difficult to use? Really? Sorry but it's not.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By nafhan on 1/3/2013 5:16:19 PM , Rating: 3
I think you're wrong. That's not what's going on here. From the DOD press release:
The deal, led by the Army Contracting Command in collaboration with the Defense Information Systems Agency, the Army and the Air Force, demonstrates the best pricing DOD has received to date for Microsoft desktop and server software licenses , officials said.
It sounds like MS is offering them a (massive?) discount to start using Windows 8. They also specifically mention the AF saving $50 mil per year and the Army saving $70 mil per year.

At the same time, while it's hardly a "major score" for MS in monetary terms, it certainly is in terms of installed users.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By flatrock on 1/4/2013 3:22:00 PM , Rating: 4
Not this crap again.

With enterprise license agreements you do not buy individual versions of Windows. You purchase the rights to load any Microsoft OS you choose on the systems for which you license the software.

Notice that no where in the press release the article lists as it's source does it say that the DOD will be an early adopter of Windows 8 or that they will be loading Windows 8 on a significant number of systems. It will be years before any of the branches adopt Windows 8 in their standard system load.

The article it based on some pretty bad assumptions and a poor understanding of the licensing agreements involved.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By rsmech on 1/6/2013 11:37:41 PM , Rating: 2
what is technology is 8 lacking that 7 has? Where is it a downgrade.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By dragonbif on 1/7/2013 12:41:04 PM , Rating: 2
Hate to tell you this but when you renew your agreement with Microsoft it is always for the latest software. They would not let you do one for say Windows XP or NT. We renew ours every year but we could do a 3 years like the DOD did.
This is standard stuff so I do not see a problem with it considering how many PCs they must have.

O and you do not have to buy PCs with the OEM Windows installed.

RE: Our tax dollars at work
By dragonbif on 1/7/2013 12:45:10 PM , Rating: 2
One more thing, you do not have to install Windows 8. With most agreements you can go back to the previous OS as long as it is still supported by Microsoft.

By Master Kenobi on 1/3/2013 1:56:03 PM , Rating: 5
Seeing as the DOD just upgraded to Windows 7 in mid 2012, you can bet Windows 8 isn't anywhere on the implementation schedule. We will likely continue to use the license to install the standard Windows 7 image as Microsoft does not license "older" versions of windows. It's up to the customer to "downgrade" on their own. That is how Microsoft signs "Enterprise Agreements" these days.

Here's a fun prediction, Windows 8 won't grace any production DOD system until 2014 and that will likely be for the "pilot group".

As for Sharepoint, that will likely have a much quicker rollout as it is actually useful and less of an issue to implement.

RE: Unlikely
By othercents on 1/3/2013 2:07:51 PM , Rating: 2
Sharepoint and Office 2013. I think the DoD was more interested in Office 2013 for "security updates". However there might be a case that the DoD will add in Windows RT in some cases where the user only needs email and Office capability.


RE: Unlikely
By Mitch101 on 1/3/2013 3:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
SharePoint 2013 contains both the 14 (2010) and 15 (2013) hives so you can Migrate SharePoint 2010 sites into SharePoint 2013 and allow the site owners to decide when to update their site to 2013.

There is even preview abilities for you to take your 2010 site and run a test 2013 version of it.

The best part of about some of this is SharePoint is very modular so you can have Search and Office web apps providing the enhanced functions from SharePoint 2013 to SharePoint 2010 servers/users.

RE: Unlikely
By nafhan on 1/3/2013 5:28:54 PM , Rating: 2
This is the best analysis of what's actually going to happen.
Similar situation where I work (we're an order of magnitude smaller than the DoD, though).

The real news here is that MS just gave the DoD a huge licensing discount. Taxpayers just saved some money.

RE: Unlikely
By spamreader1 on 1/3/2013 6:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
I agree, this more than likely is a change in how their EA works so that their SA and account is more easily managed. They could easily have just reduced the DOD's Microsoft software licensing personnel from a few hundred to a few people. With SA they have the freedom to use what they want, when and where they want without extra licensing burdens.

RE: Unlikely
By djc208 on 1/3/2013 6:06:46 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, our facility is still running XP, let alone windows 7, so I wouldn't expect to see 8 hit many DOD systems soon.

The other note I'll add is that this license is usually much like that for universities in that the license also allows employees free or reduced access to some or all of those programs for home/home office use.

RE: Unlikely
By Quadrillity on 1/4/2013 9:23:55 AM , Rating: 2
Hit the nail on the head right there.

Avoid the spend it or lose it mentality
By aguilpa1 on 1/4/2013 4:10:54 PM , Rating: 3
Give all agencies 1/2 or 1/3 of their budget allotment and make them JUSTIFY the remainder as in the 0 budget plan. This way they have enough to buy the things they really need to stay agile but have to really need and justify what they don't get up front. Also remove the use it or lose it factor in that their budget won't get sliced if they use less from year to year just keep an across the board percentage increase potential accounting for inflation based on the previous year's budget.

By Dug on 1/4/2013 5:51:26 PM , Rating: 2
That's logical. No government agency or business works that way. Even in small companies they waste money because "it's in the budget" with no incentive to save.

Server 2012
By Gunbuster on 1/3/2013 2:20:36 PM , Rating: 2
Bizarre that the story doesn't mention Server 2012 or SQL 2012. I'm sure the DOD never uses databases or has a need for robust virtual machines, scalability, or fail-over...

RE: Server 2012
By borismkv on 1/4/2013 11:13:52 AM , Rating: 2
They're still migrating to 2008 versions. Of course, most of the bases I saw used Oracle for databases. I didn't run into a lot of SQL.

As a former member of the military...
By siuol11 on 1/3/2013 6:37:38 PM , Rating: 1
...let me tell you, this just means that someone in MS sales greased the right palms. DOD regularly buys shit software and hardware against the different branches' recommendations for political or private financial gain. Our procurement system is a complete joke that is a thousand times more corrupt than it was in the 80's when Congress pushed through a few minor reforms.

By aguilpa1 on 1/4/2013 4:15:04 PM , Rating: 2
I would have to agree, I have no doubt this big wig general and the equally out of touch "procurement" officer will likely never even use Windows 8 and could give a rats posterior as to what problems or recommendations the real users gave him and will have to deal with. It simply isn't his problem.

By borismkv on 1/3/2013 11:50:15 PM , Rating: 3
Having worked with the DoD before, I can tell you with complete confidence that it will take them until the next version of Windows is out before they actually deploy Windows 8. I got job offers for a project in the NA TNOSC to migrate them to Windows 2008 3 years ago. They're *still* in the planning phase for that project and I'm still getting offers for it.

Fisher Price is high tech for the government
By Zaranthos on 1/3/2013 5:08:12 PM , Rating: 2
Considering the governments track record at things like managing money or eliminating red tape they have to keep things as simple as possible. A starting screen with a few choices of big Fisher Price icons might increase productivity among our more challenged government employees.

Windows 8 is a bucket of suck, I don't care how many fanboys like it.

windows 8
By jonjonjon on 1/5/2013 5:55:07 PM , Rating: 2
the real question is how much did ms pay someone in the DoD for them to spend the tax payer money. you know there is a kickback in there somewhere. i wish nothing but the worse for all those corrupt pricks. not to mention windows 8 sucks.

By Ammohunt on 1/3/13, Rating: 0
RE: Plan?
By chripuck on 1/3/2013 2:45:26 PM , Rating: 1
As opposed to what? We aren't talking about the "computers" running our battleships. You really think an analyst in a cubicle in DC is going to be more productive with Linux? Come on.

The DoD didn't pay anything
By Beenthere on 1/3/2013 5:45:40 PM , Rating: 1
Tax payers footed the bill for this crapware and tax payers will foot the bill for all the problems with this crapware. Nothing knew here other than more bad decisions by our government.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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