EDUCATION reseller EdCom has lost the contract to supply schools with free software to Datacom, with which it is partnering to provide services to the education sector.
Datacom won the contract to act as distributor of Microsoft software and licences to schools as part of a new multi-million dollar agreement between Microsoft and the Ministry of Education (MOE), under which the Ministry obtains specially packaged software at a largely discounted price for free distribution to state schools.
The agreement runs to the end of 2006 and extends a similar arrangement negotiated by the software vendor and Ministry in 2002.
Datacom bid for the contract in a competitive tender against Unisys and EdCom, which supplied schools under the original agreement.
EdCom, a division of charitable education services provider, Multi Serve Education Trust, claims to be the largest reseller of software to schools, but is currently providing a range of technical service to schools in partnership with Datacom.
Despite these ties the two companies tendered from opposite camps for the contract and Multi Serve CEO Des Hammond says relations between the two companies will not sour.
“We tender for projects every day — you win some and lose some,” he says. “We have a great relationship with Datacom and that will continue — we are still working closely together.”
Hammond says Datacom and EdCom had not considered submitting a joint tender and speculates Datacom won the contract because of the large call centre it runs for schools, from where the
distribution of the software will be administrated.
Datacom Services managing director Greg Magness, confirms this was one of the reasons the company was selected, along with running a volume licensing team that works extensively in Microsoft licences.
He adds Datacom decided to tender independently as the Ministry was looking at different criteria for the new contract, which it could meet on its own.
Existing relationships between Datacom and Multi Serve/EdCom remain intact, he says.
“Datacom does a lot of work with Multi Serve in other [areas]. There is no change in that,” he states.
Microsoft New Zealand notified all the parties that tendered at what price point it was making the software available to the Ministry, which managing director Ross Peat says is “dramatically” lower than that found in the corporate arena and is in line with its global educational pricing regimes.
The agreement is part of a wider MOE programme worth $27.45 million over three years that includes supplying schools with Apple and Computer Associates eTrust anti-virus software. Microsoft’s share of this amount is substantial, according to Peat.