Microsoft, Dell Ink $500M Deal with Air Force

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The multiyear deal, a consolidation of multiple support and software agreements with the Air Force, will see Microsoft provide core server software, maintenance and upgrade support, while Dell will supply more than 525,000 Microsoft desktop Windows and O

Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc. on Friday will announce a significant consolidation of multiple support and software license agreements with the U.S. Air Force into a single enterprise agreement worth as much as $500 million over six years.

This multiyear deal will see Microsoft provide core server software, maintenance and upgrade support, while Dell will supply more than 525,000 Microsoft desktop Windows and Office software licenses.

The deal, which Microsoft and Dell officials say is one of the world's largest single enterprise-level implementations in the world, forms part of the One Air Force, One Network initiative and is designed to simplify the acquisition process while meeting demands for stringent enterprisewide cyber-security requirements, timely distribution of software updates and enterprise configuration management.

Under the arrangement, Microsoft will provide core server software, maintenance and upgrade support to the Air Force in a move that overhauls previously decentralized software support contracts into a single enterprisewide support agreement so the software system can be managed and supported much as traditional weapons systems are, Curt Kolcun, general manager for Microsoft Federal, said in a statement released late Thursday night.

Core server software supported under the agreement includes Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Systems Management Server, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server.

Through Software Assurance, Air Force personnel will also get desktop licenses for use at work and at home, through the Home Use Program which gives the staff the option of buying a licensed copy of select Office desktop applications for use on a single home computer at a nominal cost, Kolcun said.

For its part, Dell will supply the Air Force with more than 525,000 Microsoft desktop Windows and Office software licenses. This software products initiative consolidates 38 software license agreements previously established by the Air Force and will allow it to implement standard configurations of software that will be mandated for use across global Air Force operations.

Troy West, vice president of Dell Federal Systems, said in a prepared statement that the agreement builds on Dell's long-standing relationship with the Air Force. "As an organization with facilities worldwide, it is important for the Air Force to efficiently and affordably procure technology when and where it needs it. This agreement enables it to accomplish that goal," he said.

Next Page: Other DOD organizations supported.

The agreements will also support other Department of Defense organizations, including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and several Joint Combatant Commands for which the Air Force has executive responsibility.

Microsoft's Kolcun said that the consolidation of software and hardware product purchases across its enterprise will allow the Air Force to enhance IT operations globally through better management, policies and planning.

"It will be able to add integrated security and configuration management processes as well as baseline requirements that will have security and software feature settings specifically configured. The partnership will help the Air Force meet its goal of standardizing software capabilities to support core Air Force operations," he said.

Another core element of the deal is security, with both the Air Force and Microsoft committing to work together to solve security concerns across the Air Force's global enterprise, Kolcun said. The Air Force will also now drive new methods of testing and upgrading software and increase overall sharing of best practices.

For insights on security coverage around the Web, check out eWEEK.com Security Center Editor Larry Seltzer's Weblog.

In addition, the services program will standardize desktop and server software configurations and streamline configuration management capability. "We at Microsoft will learn how to continually improve our technology as it is applied across a massive and truly global enterprise like the U.S. Air Force," Kolcun said.

Check out eWEEK.com's for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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