US News & World Report: Attack of the Freebie Software
Oct 08, 2002, 16:00 (8 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Andrews)
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"By rights, GiftCertificates.com should be a Microsoft loyalist.
Its CEO, Michael Ahern, is a former Microsoft executive. Its
business, selling digital gift certificates, was built on Windows
database and server technology. Still, the Seattle-based firm is
considering switching to free Linux and open-source software. New
license fees from Microsoft have put the bite on GiftCertificates'
budget. Ahern won't supply an exact figure but says the difference
'is hundreds of dollars on the Linux side versus tens of thousands
of dollars for Windows.'
"Ahern is hardly alone in his dilemma. Chafing under what they
call the 'Microsoft tax'–license fees collected each time
they upgrade personal computers and server networks–customers
from the government of China to Europe's Ford Motor Co. division
are switching to free software systems. Linux's penguin logo is
cropping up all over. 'Developing countries, software developers,
[and] schools are embracing Linux more,' says Phil Mogavero,
president of Data Systems Worldwide, technology consultants. 'Linux
has the capability of creating a paradigm shift...'"