How Linux beat Microsoft in Munich

USA Today has a detailed report on how Linux (through Suse and IBM) won a USD 35 million contract for 14,000 desktops in the Germany city, beating out a cheaper offer from Microsoft (via Prakash Advani).

The vote wasn’t just another win for Linux, as it continues to gobble chunks of the computer server software market — a market Microsoft does not dominate. Munich is about to become the largest tech user to deploy Linux for everyday use on desktop PCs, the wellspring of Microsoft’s profits.

The result in Munich shows that the world’s largest software company is again under attack from a powerful outside force. But this time the encroacher isn’t government antitrust lawyers or a rival tech giant.

Instead, Microsoft is defending itself against the open-source-code movement. In the past two years, dozens of government agencies and schools across Asia, Europe, Australia and the Americas, along with financial institutions and moviemakers, have helped establish open-source software on beefy computer servers that display Web pages and crunch numbers. Now they have begun embracing open-source software running on ordinary desktop computers.

”What’s striking about the Munich deal is the use of Linux on the desktop,” says Paul DeGroot, tech industry analyst at research firm Directions on Microsoft. ”It’s a threat to Microsoft’s real source of strength, the desktop, where it has no competition and is used to winning all sorts of battles.”


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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.