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Tuesday
Jul152003

Would You Like Linux with Your Weisswurst?

At lunchtime today I came across an article called Linux took on Microsoft, and won big in Munich, in USA Today online. Byron Acohido's well-written article by details the timeline of the Microsoft vs. Linux decision in Munich (the home of Weisswurst), along with behind the scenes information gathered after the decision.

Some of the more interesting tidbits from the documents USA Today uncovered, indicate that Microsoft was willing to let Munich extend their Windows XP "upgrade-free-zone" to 6 years -- a big concession compared to the normal 3 to 4 year span. Here's a great quote from Munich council member Christine Strobl:

"Microsoft's philosophy is to change our software every five years," Strobl says. "With open-source, it is possible for us to make our own decision as to when to change our software."

Microsoft also agreed to let Munich buy copies of MS Word without having to buy Office in cases where workstations didn't need anything more. In other words, unbundling. This is another big and very unusual concession, since Microsoft uses the sale of Office as a big stranglehold on business.

My Austrian friend Andy suggested that Munich is known as Europe's "Silicon Valley", which means this win for Linux is a very strategic one. It could have a huge impact on Europe, the US and the world. Should be interesting to see how this one shakes out in the next few years.

A final takeaway quote:

"Microsoft came too late," says Wolowicz, Ude's chief of staff. "The perception of the majority of the city council was now (Microsoft) wants to put pressure on the decision. Psychologically it was not good."

Read the whole article... I highly recommend it.

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