Official: UK government 'should use more Apple products'

Editor’s Note: The following article is reprinted from Macworld UK. Visit Macworld UK’s blog page for the latest Mac news from across the Atlantic.

Ian Watmore, the former head of the e-Government Unit set up by the Labour administration in 2004, has called for an end to the monopoly over government IT projects that large companies such as Fujitsu, BT and HP have.

According to the BBC, Watmore said that the government should use more Apple-made products, which he himself uses at home, and end its reliance on Microsoft’s software.

Watmore is currently heading up an efficiency drive in Whitehall and oversaw a document published by the Cabinet Office this week about the government’s future IT strategy.

He called for a move to smaller and more manageable IT schemes, none of which would cost more than £100m, criticizing the previous administration’s “over-ambitious projects.”

Watmore said that Labour ministers were guilty of green-lighting expensive, over-ambitious projects in order to make their policies “sound sexy.”

Watmore said that though he wanted the government to use more open-source software in order to save money, but expressed concerns over its security. However, he is adamant that the civil service’s reliance on Microsoft products—around 90 percent of the civil service use Microsoft’s software, he said—should be ended and suggested Apple as an alternative.

The Labour administration’s relationship with Apple recently came under scrutiny when a Labour party spokesman was forced to deny that former Prime Minister Gordon Brown blocked an honorary knighthood for Steve Jobs.

An unnamed former MP who left parliament after the last election, but had been a senior member of the Labour party, claimed that Brown refused to bestow the honur on Jobs after the Apple CEO turned down an invitation to speak at the 2009 Labour party conference.

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