Microsoft keen on e-governance projects

Microsoft keen on e-governance projects

DH Impact

Reacting to Deccan Herald’s story, dated July 19, 2009, “Rat race begins among vendors for contracts,” the software giant said that being a platform based company, Microsoft has worked with a lot of open source players and is even willing to work with industry opponents to get its hands on the projects. This is viewed by many players as a 'back-door’ entry vied by Microsoft.

Microsoft observed that its interest may fluctuate based on two amendments in the draft policy. The draft policy states that no firm bidding for any project can claim for intellectual property rights  and must use open standards. “We are interested in the e-governance projects, but will appreciate if amendments on open standard and IPR are made,” Microsoft, Standards Engagement Lead Oliver Bell told Deccan Herald.

He said, “We believe that the advocacy of open standards would mean ‘putting the cart before the horse’, as the State does not know what is the requirement of the customer,” and added that they would approach the government through the industry body to “create awareness” on the advantages of multiple standards. 

State for a right mix

While admitting that the cost burden will reduce considerably with an open standard platform, Principal Secretary, e-governance Department M N Vidyashankar averred to use the “right mix” of proprietary software and open standard will also reap benefits.

Currently Karnataka has Rs 175 crore worth of e-governance projects in the pipeline with a Data Centre project worth Rs 65 crore, all set to be rolled out next week in seven districts. While the draft policy’s stand on open source keeps the single-standard vendor glued to developments, statements like this by experts keeps Microsoft’s hopes alive. Either way it is all about money for the industry with the State swearing by implementation.