Becta, the government agency tasked with improving learning through technology, has warned schools away from signing licensing agreements with Microsoft reports the BBC. After reporting the company to the Office of Fair Trading a spokesman warned schools to install Office 2007 only “when its interoperability with alternative products is satisfactory” as the proprietary and non-backwards-compatible nature of the filetypes is causing major headaches in some schools (including mine).
Having some form of office software is, of course, essential for all schools. Although Microsoft has the lion’s share of the market, there is no particular reason for this in terms of National Curriculum requirements. OpenOffice.org is free, Open-Source, and a fully-featured suite of programs to rival Microsoft’s offering. In some cases, Google Docs & Spreadsheets may be sufficient for your needs. Get in touch with edte.ch if you want to find out more!