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CTT wins Microsoft deal

CTT wins Microsoft deal
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CTT wins Microsoft deal

Finance | 29 Jan 2008

Charity Technology Trust has secured a deal with Microsoft and US-based nonprofit technology website TechSoup.org that will enable charities to download Microsoft software for a fraction of its retail price. Microsoft UK Community Affairs has given CTT permission to give away the software through an online shop on its CTXchange website, which already offers donated Cisco Systems products. The Microsoft products include Microsoft Office, Windows XP, Publisher and FrontPage.

The scheme is open to all registered charities and housing associations, who will pay an administration fee, usually of between 4 and 8 per cent of retail price.

The deal is likely to have implications for some of the sector's umbrella bodies. NCVO, SCVO and Nicva have agreements with Phoenix Software whereby their members can buy software from vendors including Microsoft, at discounts of between 40 and 80 per cent of retail price. According to Mark Gillett, a director at Phoenix, in many cases the discount customers received "more than justified the cost of membership (of the umbrella body)". He said Phoenix had "possibly as many as 2,000" customers that were members of those umbrella groups.

Gillett is resigned to losing some business to CTT. "Its model will undoubtedly take some volume from us," he admitted. "The main difference between us is that it gives software away and we sell it. To the naked eye we won't stand a chance now, but all it is doing is fundamentally dispensing software licensing agreements via the internet, while we also provide advice, help and support as well as software. But its offering is potentially a lot cheaper than ours." However, Gillett conceded that Microsoft's donation programme was "very commendable" and that the market was ripe for a change.

The Microsoft scheme goes live on 1 July as a pilot with 13 products on offer. If successful, the range will be exapnded to 60 titles, and organisations will be able to receive up to six titles each and up to 50 licenses per title.

TechSoup, which was appointed by Microsoft to roll out the donation programme in Europe, chose CTT to deliver the programme. The programme mirrors similar donation programmes Microsoft has in the USA and Canada.

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