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Microsoft pushing PC builders out of the education market

A group of computer building firms have come forward to claim that Microsoft’s Technology Access Programme (TAP) is pushing them out of the UK education market.

Speaking to a UK channel publication, companies including NS Optimum and VeryPC have revealed that they are seeking legal advice after the scheme adversely impacted their business.

The IT giant’s TAP was recently overhauled – besides a name change from Shape of the Future, the programme also cut the price of Windows for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) to just $1, as well as loosening criteria for qualification.

However, some organisations viewed this as an attempt by Microsoft to encourage UK schools to move back to Windows devices, rather than Apple or Android alternatives.

Besides this, it has been revealed that despite lower entry requirements, only “named” UK accounts are able to participate and these must normally be assembling a minimum of 10,000 units a year.

Firms who are not hitting this number of units on an annual basis have spoken out to say that this has locked them out of the education sector.

Small Firms Speak Out

“At this stage we are just looking to raise awareness,” claimed NS Optimum director Andy Rutley, in a call for small computer assemblers to band together.

“It’s an artificial skew of the market and it’s excluding those system builders... from supplying education,” he added.

VeryPC managing director Andrew Hopton agreed with Rutley’s comments, claiming that TAP has negatively impacted his business growth this year.

“We are all for the scheme and the benefit it brings to the education sector but its delivery could be improved to maximise accessibility to Microsoft partners and schools,” claimed Hopton.

“It’s pushing smaller integrators away from the Windows operating system, which is counter-intuitive,” he added.