Uk Gov: Schools Don't Sign With MS

It seems that we can't turn around in our cubicles without a new story about some European government or agency mentioning Microsoft and anti-trust in the same breath.

The latest example is from the United Kingdom where the educational technology group Becta has asked for an immediate halt to any licensing of Vista and/or Office 2007 for educators.  Becta claims that the Redmond Giant is violating anti-competitive laws even in the academic software licensing arena.  For the time being the government has agreed to halt all license agreement signing until the issues can be cleared up.

The issues that Becta wants to see resolved center around the readiness of Vista and the license agreement that educational institutions are asked to sign.

“There are a few downsides to the School Agreement program, according to Becta. Microsoft doesn't provide sufficient clarity into the buy-out costs should a school decide to get out of the program, says Becta. The agency is also concerned that Microsoft's academic subscription setup doesn't allow schools to obtain a perpetual license—unless they make a buy-out payment. Lastly, Becta would like to see Microsoft drop its all-or-nothing licensing requirement—all PCs on campus must be a part of the program, even if they're not capable of running Vista or Office 2007.

Becta also has some more specific concerns regarding Vista and Office 2007. It believes that Vista's feature set isn't enough to justify upgrades at this point. In the case of Office 2007, Becta would like to see stronger support for the ODF format used by and better interoperability with Microsoft Works.”

We're wondering why this is just cropping up now.  It isn't like Vista, Office 2007, nor their licensing agreements are anything particularly new.  It seems more like smaller government bodies throwing their weight behind the recent EU victory over MS.

What's your take?  Are Microsoft and other American companies simply being bullied and scrutinized by the EU and various European countries or are these justifiable complaints that deserve rectification?
Tags:  MS, school, Schools, sig, IGN, K