The Redmond software giant just inked a three-year, $617 million software deal with the United States Department of Defense to bring Windows 8 to 75 percent of all DoD employees. There are 450,000 total workers, which means 330,000 of them will be using Microsoft’s newest software.
“There’s a move afoot throughout the department to bring about efficiencies in the [information technology] world,” David L. DeVries, DoD deputy chief information officer, told 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.”
Information technology firm and Microsoft partner Insight Enterprises helped put the deal together. The agreement is in place for the U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency, which differs from the historically fragmented approach of the military and its Microsoft contracts.
According to Microsoft, it “provides all three organizations with a single vehicle for accessing the latest Microsoft technologies in support of top IT priorities around datacenter consolidation, collaboration, cybersecurity, mobility, cloud computing and big data.”
Microsoft calls it the “most comprehensive licensing agreement” it has ever established with the DoD. Employees will be able to use Microsoft Office 2013, SharePoint 2013 Enterprise and Windows 8.
“Microsoft has longstanding relationships with the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force and DISA, and we are honored to expand our support of ongoing technology modernization efforts across all three organizations,” Tim Solms, general manager of Microsoft’s Department of Defense Business, said in a press release. “This agreement enables us to provide the best technology tools to an incredibly broad range of servicemen and servicewomen across the DoD, and we are looking forward to implementing to support their mission goals.”
The huge deal is saving the DoD money, with the department saving “tens of millions” through lower license and software assurance costs. Mobile compatibility of Windows 8 was also a big selling point for the DoD.
“[The agreement] recognizes the shift to mobility,” said David G. Simpson, DISA’s vice director and senior procurement executive. “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.”
In July, Microsoft signed a similar $700 million agreement with the Navy.
Previously on GeekWire: Windows Phone Diary: Week 1 of an uncertain relationship