National Technology Office - Microsoft UK

Microsoft response to Cabinet Office Open Standards Public Consultation

Microsoft response to Cabinet Office Open Standards Public Consultation

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The Cabinet Office’s Public Consultation on Open Standards formally closed on Monday 4th June and we have welcomed the opportunity to participate in the process as well as provide our thoughts regarding the important issues raised by the consultation. Please view the cover letter (PDF, 333KB) and response document (PDF, 624KB) of our full submission to the consultation for more information.

The five key points that drove our response were:

1. We are in full agreement with the government’s objectives of encouraging SME participation in the market for government ICT, improving value for money from government ICT spend, and fostering increased interoperability between government departments.

2. We strongly support open standards, both through participation in the development of standards by a range of Standards Setting Organizations and by implementing standards in our products and services.

3. We support a broad definition of open standards that includes Fair Reasonable and Non Discriminatory (FRAND) licensing terms with or without a royalty (at the option of the patent holder), because we believe this fosters innovation for upstream and vertically integrated innovators, as well as allowing downstream participants access to new and innovative technologies.

4. We support government recommending (not mandating) multiple open standards which have reached sufficient threshold of market acceptance, to ensure that government departments deploy products and build systems that are more interoperable.

5. We would discourage policies that result in the creation of parallel government and non-government markets, which could be an unintended side-effect of this policy proposed in the Consultation.

We look forward to reading the responses of others as well as hearing the thoughts of the Cabinet Office when they have considered all the submissions to this important consultation.

Mark Ferrar
National Technology Officer
Microsoft UK

  • " with a royalty" means Free Software gets kicked out.

  • FRAND is double-speak.  It is discriminatory to Microsoft's real competition, free/open-source software

  • FRAND is totally NOT compatible with GPL licensed software.

    Please wake up and smell the coffee.

  • In our response to Chapter 1, Question 7 of the consultation we observe that “Publicly available licencing data reveals that for the commonly used H.264 standard (which is subject to a royalty payment) there are over 1100 licensees, including such obvious open source vendors as #755 the Raspberry Pi Foundation Ltd, Linux vendor Canonical at #149 and Linux set top box maker Roku at #772 (see  By contrast, there appears to be no evidence of any specific FRAND based industry standard which is not implemented in open source as a result of the requirement to pay a patent royalty.” This shows that standards containing IP that carries a royalty does not mean “Free Software” gets “kicked out”.

  • "This shows that standards containing IP that carries a royalty does not mean “Free Software” gets “kicked out”."

    Either free software is gratis or it is not gratis. This is a binary choice.

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