11 January 2006 | Anusha Bradley
The British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (Becta), is reviewing the value for money schools get from using Microsoft's education software.
The review will measure how much schools and colleges spend with Microsoft and investigate alternatives such as open source software.
Becta, which advises schools on buying IT, said "particular attention" would be paid to Microsoft's subscription licensing models, the risks of being "locked in" to one supplier and the cost of exiting licensing agreements.
Owen Lynch, Becta's chief executive said in a statement: "In areas where a single supplier is dominant, particular vigilance is necessary."
An interim report is expected in June.
Microsoft said it would cooperate fully with Becta's review. David Burrows, director of education at Microsoft UK, said he was confident its products delivered value for money.
He added that licensing options offered to education customers were developed through consultation with schools and universities.