IT spending in the UK’s Public Sector

My frolleague Richard Voaden sent this article my way this afternoon…

Ian Watmore – who is now in charge of a Whitehall efficiency drive – gave a scathing assessment of the previous government’s IT record.

The article suggests that expensive IT projects made policies sound “sexy” and that certain suppliers had a vice-like grip on the world of Public Sector IT. As these articles often do, the idea of open source software is thrown in as a potential money-saver, suggesting that the UK Government relies too heavily on Microsoft products. Anyone for Symphony?

But this is my favourite part of the article…

His “personal” view, he added, was that Apple products, which he said he used at home, should also be used more in government.

Now hang on a second… the words “save cash” appear very near to the top of this article. While I might be considered to be a bit of an Apple fan-boy (while still being left unimpressed by the iPad) I wouldn’t agree that spending money with Apple wasn’t the best course of action in the middle of an economy drive. Has Mr Watmore never visited the Apple store? I know it’s hard to see the product details with every computer surrounded by tourists reading their e-mail and treating the place like a free and trendy cyber-cafe, but surely he must know that Apple products do tend to be on the pricey side.

Also, using something at home isn’t always a good reason to use the same item at work. For example, we own a Breville sandwich toaster.


  1. Darren, I’m surprised at you… Apple kit is not expensive, not when you consider TCO and most importantly, user productivity. Add in reduced need for IT tooling like ant-virus etc and Apple kit looks a bargain when done properly…

  2. Windows-based laptop… with a bulk-buy discount you could probably kit out an enterprise or government department at £300 a user (given that most users don’t need top of the range). Macbooks start at £867. Certainly there are some things Apple do better (software updates?) which could reduce the after-purchase TCO, and in my opinion Apple laptops are better quality than all but the most expensive Wintel laptops, but would that bridge the £500 per user gap?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see a world where Apple and Linux have a greater corporate foothold, and we have seen an increase of Apple kit in businesses, but I don’t think we’ve seen the numbers stack up right across a company.

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