Desktops for Information Workers

Internet Week quotes Jeff Raikes of Microsoft on desktops:

Microsoft Office System 2003 will crush forthcoming Linux desktop offerings from Sun Microsystems and Red Hat by serving as an XML-enabled front end to back-end systems and integrating collaboration features, , one key executive predicts.

Jeff Raikes, group vice president of Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Services, said the integration of collaboration, communications and XML support into the Office 2003 suite will offer a far greater business value than what the open-source competition can deliver.

“Office is becoming integrated into business processes,” Raikes said. “CIOs are under pressure to do more with less. It’s an opportunity to bring the integration into the organization.”

Further, the integration of Outlook 2003, Exchange 2003, InfoPath XML e-forms, OneNote digital-ink applications, CRM and Microsoft Business Solutions applications with Office 2003 will add compelling value that forthcoming corporate Linux desktops from Sun and Red Hat simply can’t deliver, Raikes said.

The article also quotes Sun’s marketing director on its Mad Hatter offering: “Today people are paying Microsoft Office license upgrades north of $300 and $500, and we can come out with an acquisition cost that’s considerably less–a savings of two times to four times over the life cycle. Mad Hatter comes with integration and development tools. Customers want a client front-end and back-end infrastrucure and, as such, Mad Hatter will provide connectors into the Sun Orion software stack back end, as well as mainstream solutions. A lot of this stuff has to be out-of-the-box.”

Neither of the two solutions are good enough (affordable) for emerging markets. What is needed is a thin client-thick server solution, based on Linux for no more than USD 15 per user.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.