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ZDNet UK/TechRepublic: Seizing Opportunities to Go Open Source

Nov 05, 2003, 03:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Russell Dyer)

"Microsoft has told us it's successful because it makes better products at cheaper prices. However, Microsoft Office can now be matched on quality and beaten on price by Ximian's Evolution and Sun Microsystem's OpenOffice, the free version of StarOffice. Combined, they are said to be the first open source contenders against the formidable Microsoft Office product and its approximately 90-percent desktop market share. And now that Microsoft has begun pressuring businesses to pay licensing fees, the environment is particularly primed for open source to take some of that market share. All that's left is for proponents of open source to familiarise themselves with these products and learn how to promote them in a way that business people can understand.

"Let's look at a common scenario playing out in many companies. Suppose you're an IT manager at a small company that's a subsidiary of a much larger company. Your office has 150 computers, of which 100 are used by a few shifts of customer-service personnel. These workers only use Microsoft Internet Explorer as an interface to an in-house program on the server that your department developed. The other 50 computers are used by office workers who primarily run Microsoft Office 97. Five of these computers also have a Microsoft Windows-based accounting program installed. Almost all of the computers were purchased with Microsoft Windows 95 pre-installed, but they've all been upgraded over time to Microsoft Windows 98 using five licensed copies that came with five newer computers that were purchased a while back. At this point, the users are fairly content with the software, and they politely ignore comments you make occasionally about the merits of open-source software..."

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