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Pentagon $617 million buy gives Microsoft's Windows 8 a big lift

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 5, 2013 | 2 min read

In big boost for Windows 8, Microsoft has won a $617 million contract with the U.S. Defense Department to provide its latest software.

A big boost for Windows 8

The three-year deal covers 1.5 million Pentagon computers. Under it, the Army, Air Force and Defense Information Systems Agency will have access to the latest versions of Windows 8 and programmes such as Microsoft Office 2013.

Tim Solms, general manager for Pentagon business at Microsoft , told Bloomberg, “The large majority of the United States Department of Defense just made the decision to go with Microsoft. That’s very positive from a business perspective.”

You can say that again! There were seven bids for the contract,but the unsuccesful rivals were not identified .

Microsoft, the longtime PC leader, has suffered in competition with smartphones and tablets from Apple and Google in recent years.

U.S. retail sales of devices running Windows fell 21 per cent year on year in the four weeks after Microsoft released Windows 8 on Oct. 26.

Part of that was a reported 24 percent drop in sales of notebook computers as customers chose Apple’s iPad or Google Android tablets.

The Pentagon contract is “a validation point for Windows 8 after the media has been fairly negative on it as an operating system,” Richard Williams, an analyst at Cross Research told Bloomberg.

“The fact that large organisations are adopting it adds credence to the idea that this software is an industry standard.”

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