Britain's tax authorities will be sending out your bad news courtesy of Google in future, after the HMRC decided to select Google Apps as its platform for the future.
This is huge news on so many fronts. In the past the British Government has shied away from ditching Microsoft, not least because of the leverage Microsoft has as a result of its investment in UK R&D. In itself it isn't a huge loss for the Redmond software giant, numbering 70,000 licenses, what it is though, is the thin end of the wedge being driven into Microsoft's monopoly on UK government purchasing.
That HMRC are being allowed to store its data offshore also suggests a softening of the attitude of the Information Commissioner's Office, which previously mandated UK or EU storage of all sensitive information, with very strict controls on its transmission across borders.
Having previously run into these roadblocks myself when trying to modernise Healthcare services, I'm pleased to see that a more considered view of costs and capability can be used to inform IT spend in the UK. Rather than the previous default position of purchasing Microsoft Office without consideration of the options.
Hopefully government departments in the UK will also now start to consider how it might utilise non-Microsoft solutions in other areas of IT, from server and desktop operating systems, to back end services that enable applications.