The government department responsible for purchasing technology informed Microsoft on Tuesday that Israel was no longer a customer for Microsoft products. The notification comes after a year of negotiations, in which the government sought to lower the cost of Microsoft products used in government offices, including Windows operating systems and Office software. Israel spends more than NIS 100 million a year on these products.
In the past, Israel has outright purchased licenses for the operating systems and programs, but in recent years Microsoft has sought to move to a subscription model for its systems – a move that government officials said would cost Israel tens of millions of shekels.
After finding Microsoft unwilling to move on the matter, the head of the Government Acquisition Office, Gal Amir, said that Israel would be examining alternative technologies to replace the Microsoft products.
“Ending the agreement with Microsoft will keep in place the existing licensing structure, such that it will be possible for government offices to keep using the Microsoft products they already have without the need for more payments,” said Amir. However, he noted, there might be product and security updates that the offices may no longer be eligible for. Given that, he said, the new situation “will prompt government offices to decide whether it is worth it for them to continue using Microsoft products, or to use alternative technologies.”