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New York City joins the Microsoft cloud

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It’s often cloudy in New York City, and now we have Microsoft to blame. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and CEO Steve Ballmer announced yesterday that NYC and Microsoft are teaming up to provide the city’s 100,000+ employees access to Microsoft’s cloud services, including Office 365, allowing better collaboration between departments and one unified system for the city, which currently uses a variety of fragmented programs and services. The agreement will save NYC $50 million over the next five years.

“To deliver services efficiently and function at the highest level, City employees need the same technological resources that top private sector businesses provide to their employees,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Through our partnership with Microsoft, we’ve found ways to offer our employees Microsoft’s newest, state-of-the-art computing tools while reducing costs to taxpayers. By capitalizing on the City’s buying power, consolidating dozens of separate City agency license agreements into a single one, and paying for software based on use, we’ll save $50 million over the next five years.”

Until now, NYC’s agencies each purchased software individually, creating a mess of more than 40 separate license agreements and even more maintenance and support contracts. Now, all of the city’s software and services will be under one unified agreement, saving money and eliminating confusion. In addition, the cloud services will allow programmers in different agencies more processing power to create programs and allow them to share their creations with other agencies. Other city employees will be able to use the company’s cloud-based Office programs to create documents, conference, and collaborate with one another.

The move is a blow to Google, who has been pushing its cloud services longer than Microsoft and has seen some success in courting city governments to its cloud, or group of web-based programs and services. Microsoft began pushing cloud computing late last year.

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