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Details of Linux-in-Munich Deal Revealed

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the craaaaaaazy-prices dept.

Microsoft 685

An anonymous reader writes "USA Today is running a piece about the lengths which Microsoft went to in order not to lose the government of Munich's account to a Linux-based proposal from SuSE. Interesting to see how these types of contracts are structured, and just what Microsoft is willing to give up to prevent losing to Linux."

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If this is not the first post.... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446873)

...I will shave my pubes with a rusty chainsaw.

As always, links to pictures will be posted.

from the guys who hit bill in the face with a pie (5, Funny)

gfody (514448) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446874)

goes to show how much they hate microsoft in germany

That was in frickin' Belgium, eh! (2, Informative)

sczimme (603413) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446954)


Nice writeup (w/ movie) here [bitstorm.org] .

Share and enjoy!

Re:from the guys who hit bill in the face with a p (2, Funny)

i8urtaco (663163) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447183)

so I don't hate Microsoft because they're greedy, manipulative and all-out evil? I hate them because I'm German? I'll be a sonovabitch.

fp! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446880)

fp!

Munich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446881)

I'm surprised Gates didn't preside over a Bier-Hall Putsch to win the business!

Re:Munich (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447171)

Remember that most of readers here are Americans whose knowledge of history is limited to events in last season's Friends (Survivor, Temptation Island, whatever...). If you expect them to pick up the Hitler reference, you're overestimating the US education system.

Re:Munich (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447193)

or maybe he didn't...

My views on C++ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446886)

Hello Gentlemen,

I'm a first year programming student at an Ivy League school and I've
just finished my Visual Basic classes. This term I'll be moving onto
C++. However I've noticed some issues with C++ that I'd like to
discuss with the rest of the programming community. Please do not
think of me as being technically ignorant. In addition to VB, I am
very skilled at HTML programming, one of the most challenging
languages out there!

C++ is based on a concept known as Object Oriented Programming. In
this style of programming (also known as OOPS in the coding community)
a programmer builds "objects" or "glasses" out of his code, and then
manipulates these "glasses". Since I'm assuming that you, dear reader,
are as skilled at programming as I am, I'll skip further explanation
of these "glasses".

Please allow me to make a brief aside here and discuss the origins C++
for a moment. My research shows that this language is one of the
oldest languages in existence, pre-dating even assembly! It was
created in the early 70s when AT&T began looking for a new language to
write BSD, its Unix Operation System (later on, other companies would
"borrow" the BSD source code to build both Solaris and Linux!)
Interestingly, the name C++ is a pun by the creator of the language.
When the first beta was released, it was remarked that the language
would be graded as a C+, because of how hideously complex and unwieldy
it was. The extra plus was tacked on during a later release when some
of these issues were fixed. The language would still be graded a C,
but it was the highest C possible! Truly a clever name for this
language.

Back to the topic on hand, I feel that C++ - despite its flaws - has
been a very valuable tool to the world of computers. Unfortunately
its starting to show its age, and I feel that it should be
retired, as COBOL, ADA and Smalltalk seem to have been. Recently I've
become acquainted with another language that's quite recently been
developed. Its one that promises to greatly simplify programming. This
new language is called C.

Although syntactically borrowing a great deal from its predecessor
C++, C greatly simplifies things (thus its name, which hints at its
simpler nature by striping off the clunky double-pluses.) Its biggest
strength is that it abandons an OOPS-style of programming. No more
awkward "objects" or "glasses". Instead C uses what are called
structs. Vaguely similar to a C++ "glass", a struct does away with
anachronisms like inheritance, namespaces and the whole
private/public/protected/friend access issues of its variables and
routines. By freeing the programmer from the requirement to juggle all
these issues, the coder can focus on implementing his algorithm and
rapidly developing his application.

While C lacks the speed and robustness of C++, I think these are petty
issues. Given the speed of modern computers, the relative sluggishness
of C shouldn't be an issue. Robustness and stability will occur as C
becomes more pervasive amongst the programming community and it
becomes more fine-tuned. Eventually C should have stability rivaling
that of C++.

I'm hoping to see C adopted as the de facto standard of programming.
Based on what I've learned of this language, the future seems very
bright indeed for C! Eventually, many years from now, perhaps we'll
even see an operating system coded in this language.

Thank you for your time. Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

-J.T.

Re:My views on C++ (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447128)

I'd like to ++ the moderator who marked you funny.

understatement (4, Funny)

cruppel (603595) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446889)

David Burger says "...I find it ironic that Microsoft could actually be trying to be seen as if it were being dealt with unfairly."

weird so do I

quality and value (5, Insightful)

Transient0 (175617) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446894)

It is really impressive to see that Munich went with Linux even though the price tag was higher than Microsoft's. The affordability of Linux is a definite plus, but too often Linux is played up in the media as being the "less expensive alternative to windows". I think that this downplays the other great advantages of Linux. Glad to see that Munich appreciates a great product when they see one.

Linux competitiveness. (5, Insightful)

markv242 (622209) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446947)

This piece out of the parent bears repeating:

...Munich went with Linux even though the price tag was higher than Microsoft's.
That is a huge win for Linux, far bigger than anyone here realizes. I don't think you can underestimate the significance of a massive IT user saying "we're willing to (initially) spend more for Linux". Powerful stuff.

Re:Linux competitiveness. (1)

gfody (514448) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446992)

(prices for linux distros across the world)
RISE UP!

Re:quality and value (0, Troll)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446949)

It is really impressive to see that Munich went with Linux even though the price tag was higher than Microsoft's.

Also makes you wonder what kind of payoffs and kickbacks were involved in that deal.

Here's what clinched it (4, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446971)

Though Microsoft underbid IBM and SuSE by $11.9 million in Munich, city officials were concerned about the unpredictable long-run cost of Microsoft upgrades

The city paid MUCH more money to IBM/SuSE because they didn't want to be locked into Microsoft's refusal to support/insistence on upgrading their software after X number of years. Linux let them upgrade when they wanted to, and not before. It was a long-term financial decision which, I'm certain, IBM and SuSE emphasized heavily in order to score a win.

Big, big news to other cities and corporations out there. A Microsoft contract is a dangerous thing when money is/will be tight. You can save a lot of money down the road if you make the switch today.

Re:Here's what clinched it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447038)

Yes, linux distros (e.g., SuSE and RedHat) will support their products for a long time, if you're willing to pay for it. This is good news for their business models.

The bad news for us hobbyists is that, to encourage companies to buy support contracts, these same distros have greatly shortened the support lifespan of non-enterprise products (e.g., Redhat 9).

Re:quality and value (4, Informative)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446973)

Actually, if you read the article (What? on Slashdot?!?) you'll see that Microsoft's final offer didn't come in soon enough to be reviewed by the Munich Council's tech/contract experts, and that they didn't take the offer seriously.

Re:quality and value (4, Interesting)

Laur (673497) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447121)

No, their offer before the last minute offer was still lower than Linux, just not by as big a margin. Besides, Microsoft's last ditch efforts just kinda pissed people off.

MS: "This is our best offer."
Munich: "Thanks, but we're going with Linux."
MS: "OK, take off another 8 million."
Munich: Wha... But you just said ... Grr...

Re:quality and value (4, Insightful)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447177)

From the article, that last minute cut (after many cuts already) was for offering Word separate from the rest of the Office suite.

That to me speaks volumes of how desperate Microsoft was to win and it sounded like the Munich council picked up on that as well.

Re:quality and value (5, Insightful)

Amiga Trombone (592952) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446984)

Yes, that's interesting. Up until this point, Linux has competed mostly on price. Now it appears to have graduated to competing on value.

This should be a great incentive for ISV to start porting their desktop software over to Linux. The fact that they were willing to pay more a Linux solution than a Windows one is a signal there's actually a buck to be made selling software on the platform.

No longer is Linux merely the OS choice of cheapskates and freeloaders - some customers are willing to pay cash for their software!

Here's the clincher (3, Interesting)

mblase (200735) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447002)

Though Microsoft underbid IBM and SuSE by $11.9 million in Munich, city officials were concerned about the unpredictable long-run cost of Microsoft upgrades

Munich chose to spend a little more money now to save a LOT of money down the road. This was a big decision, and may have political ramifications in the short-term, but no doubt it was a wise one. Microsoft's strategy is to push an upgrade after X number of years by cancelling support for older products. With Linux, the city can upgrade what they need to, when they need to.

Re:quality and value (1)

archen (447353) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447066)

Well there's the question of is it more expensive when you upgrade? It might be cheaper now to go with MS, but will it 5 years from now when you're locked into a solution with proprietary solutions? Linux tools tend to be built off of some sort of standards. And this means that you're usually not locked in at any point and can swap out different parts of the equation, even Linux itself. When you have this sort of versitility, competition can actually thrive - and usually in the price arena as well.

Re:quality and value (1)

Grrreat (584733) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447073)

With GNU/Linux being free they can spend almost all of their money on the system design. This is cool, the system will be very well designed from the get go.

Hmm.... (5, Funny)

mb12036 (516109) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446897)

What length WILL M$ go to in order to preserve their market share?

Somebody should test this and put in the contract that Bill has to do dishes or clean toilets at the company for a month. Then we'll REALLY see to what lengths they'll go...

Re:Hmm.... (1)

azzy (86427) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447069)

More interestingly: What length WON'T MS go to in order to preserve their market share?

Re:Hmm.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447166)

That's what the parent said, you fucking retard. If you ask what lengths they will go to, you are also asking what lengths they won't go to.

Recent news... (3, Funny)

skidrowe (688747) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446908)

Bill Gates was seen curled up in the fetal position after learning the marketshare held by Microsoft would drop from 90% to 89%

"ooh...can't lose marketshare...can't lose marke-...gaahh!!"

fo' Shizzle my nizzle (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446909)

My name is Poop but I like to pee
I like to shoot piss from my D
My D is long my D is strong
My D will fuck you all night long

slashdotted: karmaless reprint (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446912)

On the brink of losing a pivotal account to an ascending rival, Microsoft last March dispatched CEO Steve Ballmer to the rescue.

The German city of Munich was balking at a $36.6 million proposal from Microsoft to upgrade 14,000 desktop PCs to the latest versions of Windows and Office. Instead, Munich -- Germany's third-largest city and a technology hub for Central Europe -- was leaning toward a switch to Linux, the upstart computer operating system whose open-source code is continually improved by volunteer programmers worldwide.

A Linux victory in Munich would be a stunning blow. So Ballmer visited Mayor Christian Ude to assure him Microsoft would do what it takes to keep the city's business. Documents obtained by USA TODAY show Microsoft subsequently lowered its pricing to $31.9 million and then to $23.7 million -- an overall 35% price cut. The discounts were for naught.

On May 28, the city council approved a more expensive proposal -- $35.7 million -- from German Linux distributor SuSE and IBM, a big Linux backer.

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.

USA TODAY obtained government and corporate documents that provide a rare insider's look at Microsoft's efforts to keep from losing a key customer. Among other things, it:

* Agreed to let Munich go as long as six years, instead of the more normal three or four, without another expensive upgrade, a concession that runs against its bread-and-butter software upgrade strategy.

* Offered to let the city buy only Microsoft Word for some PCs and strip off other applications. Such unbundling cuts against Microsoft's practice of selling PCs loaded with software.

* Offered millions of dollars worth of training and support services free.

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.''

Should its desktop software sales stagnate or, worse, decline, Microsoft's profit could plummet, and it could find itself with a diminished ability to bankroll promising, but costly, new ventures, such as tablet PCs, smart phones and online video games.

Anchored by the Linux operating system, open-source software is the antithesis of Microsoft's proprietary codes. It includes a growing number of freely distributed applications, such as OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office clone, and Mozilla, a Web browser that can perform basic workplace tasks. Created and honed by volunteer programmers worldwide, open-source alternatives are generally cheaper to acquire and easier to customize, and cost nothing to upgrade.

Though Microsoft underbid IBM and SuSE by $11.9 million in Munich, city officials were concerned about the unpredictable long-run cost of Microsoft upgrades, says Munich council member Christine Strobl, who championed the switch to Linux. And the more Microsoft discounted, the more it underscored the notion that as a sole supplier, Microsoft could -- and has been -- naming its own price, she says.

''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.''

Munich must still prove that Linux is ready for prime time on the desktop. Research firm Gartner cautions it won't be until 2005 before it is known how well it works in Munich.

Whether other big tech buyers follow Munich's lead remains to be seen. Analysts say Microsoft has the will and resources to vigorously defend its turf. Windows and Office run on more than 90% of the world's desktop computers and command gross profit margins of up to 80%. The company has $46 billion in cash and will spend $5.2 billion this year, up 20% from last year, on research to improve its offerings.

''Product-wise and installed-base-wise, they're very well positioned,'' says Gartner analyst Mike Silver.

Microsoft issues call to arms

Open-source advocates counter that Munich proves tech buyers are beginning to demand price cuts from Microsoft while giving Linux a serious look.

''What the Berlin Wall was to politics, Munich is to technology,'' says SuSE CEO Richard Seibt. ''I believe we are now witnessing that dramatic break to freedom of choice.''

Ballmer declined interview requests. A week after Microsoft lost in Munich, however, he issued a call to arms. In a June 4 companywide memo, Ballmer cast open-source software as having ''no center of gravity'' and suggested IBM adds ''an illusion of support and accountability'' to Linux. But he also warns that Linux ''requires our concentrated focus and attention.''

In a recent interview, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates said Linux is just the latest in a long line of competitors, adding that the company has no plans to allow its products to run on Linux.

Munich ''reinforces for us that we operate in a very competitive marketplace,'' says Maggie Wilderotter, Microsoft senior vice president of business strategy.

What happened in Munich also shows how profoundly tech buyers' mindsets have changed. Five years ago, as Linux was just starting to appear on the tech landscape, companies routinely snapped up expensive technology with minimal due diligence. Today, they have become assiduously frugal. And Microsoft, analysts say, has forced the issue by eliminating discounts for upgrades, cutting off support for older versions of its products still in wide use, and steering customers to a controversial 2-year-old software licensing plan under which corporate and government customers pay upfront for software and upgrades.

''Microsoft's biggest enemy is themselves,'' says Gartner's Silver. ''They do things that make people very upset and engenders a lot of resentment.''

Comparing Microsoft, Linux

The opening salvo for the battle of Munich was fired from Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., headquarters. Last October, the company announced it would no longer support Windows NT server software, which is used by businesses to network groups of desktop PCs.

That meant Munich needed to do something about its Windows NT-based network of desktop PCs running Office 95 and 98. Microsoft wanted to upgrade the city to its newest products: Windows XP and Office XP. But the city balked, and hired technology strategist Unilog Integrata, to review its options.

In comparing Microsoft with Linux, Unilog outlined the trade-offs: Microsoft generally requires a customer to buy one copy of its Windows operating system for each worker, along with a ''full stack'' of basic programs, such as a word processor, spreadsheet calculator, e-mail, calendar and Web browser. Each worker's Windows PC then serves as a gateway to other programs. Munich, for instance, uses 175 Windows applications for such tasks as managing police records, issuing permits and collecting taxes.

While Linux is easier to customize than Windows -- so each PC doesn't have to have a full software stack -- and upgrades are free, it does not work well with Windows programs. Another layer of connection software is required, adding complexity.

Unilog judged Microsoft's proposal -- to swap out all existing versions of Microsoft Windows and Office for the newest versions -- as cheaper and technically superior. But the offer from IBM-SuSE better met ''strategic'' criteria set forth by the Munich council, says Harry Maack, Unilog project manager.

For instance, the council wanted the city's computers to be very flexible and provide a return on investment over a long period of time. Unilog first recommended that the city select a $39.5 million Linux package from IBM-SuSE over a $36.6 million standard upgrade package from Microsoft.

''On price and technical criteria the advantage was Microsoft's, but the gap was not that big,'' Maack says. ''On strategic issues, it was clearly open-source, and the gap was very great.''

With battle lines drawn, Microsoft turned to a freshly hired recruit, Jurgen Gallman, steeped in Linux. Until last November, Gallman had been IBM's top Linux executive in Germany. IBM has pumped more than $1 billion into marketing Linux, including opening more than a dozen Linux training centers in cities such as New York, London and Beijing.

With Unilog, the consultant, recommending IBM-SuSE, Gallman stepped up lobbying for Microsoft. He arranged technical briefings with city tech staffers to elaborate on the advantages of Microsoft's bid. At a workshop, Microsoft ''gave detailed answers on all the issues and concerns in the (Unilog) study in exactly the same order'' as listed in the study, Maack says. ''They must have had a hard copy.''

Gallman denies that Microsoft obtained a copy. He says it could provide thorough answers based on its expertise. According to city fairness rules, neither side should have had a copy of the report.

Despite Gallman's efforts, it became clear by late March that a majority of the 80-member city council would follow Unilog's recommendation and select IBM-SuSE, says Ernst Wolowicz, Mayor Ude's chief of staff. Near the close of business on March 25, Gallman arrived at city hall, escorting Ballmer to a meeting with the mayor.

Some drinks and some persuasion

According to Wolowicz, who attended the meeting, Ballmer told Ude he came from a skiing trip to pay his respects. Microsoft now says Ballmer was on a scheduled business trip in Germany.

Drinks were served. Ballmer advised Ude not to be too hasty in his support for Linux, and tipped the mayor off to a deal in the works with Germany's federal Ministry of Interior that would provide a 15% price discount for all public sector customers in Germany, including Munich.

The 45-minute meeting transpired with little fanfare. But a week later, someone leaked an account of Ballmer's visit to the German press, and suddenly Munich's impending decision, handled as routine city business to this point, became a cause célèbre.

German media depicted Ballmer dashing from the Swiss ski slopes to steer Ude into rethinking his decision. Some stories credited Ude for cagily maneuvering the American tycoon into making concessions.

Not long after that, the International Herald Tribune ran a story based on a leaked e-mail by Orlando Ayala, a top Microsoft executive for foreign sales. In the memo, Ayala declares, ''Under NO circumstances lose against Linux.'' He authorizes $118 million in ''consulting service discounts'' for different regions, including $5.4 million to win business in Germany, according to excerpts published by The Register, an online publication that covers the tech industry.

''It was clear they were prepared to do whatever they needed to do not to lose, and that they wanted the customer to feel that way,'' says Jim Stallings, IBM's vice president in charge of Linux.

When recently asked about that e-mail and whether Microsoft was improperly undercutting competitors in Europe, Gates said, ''We will never have a price lower than Linux, in terms of just what you charge for the software,'' adding that Microsoft's value is in the overall benefit of systems including hardware and services.

In Munich, meanwhile, government documents obtained by USA TODAY show Gallman prepared a 350-page offer slicing $4.7 million off the price mentioned in Unilog's report. Microsoft's bid was now $31.9 million.

Microsoft made the cuts by agreeing to provide free or sharply discounted training for city workers, and by sponsoring school programs, such as allowing teachers to use Microsoft software purchased for the workplace at home for no extra charge, the documents show.

In a noteworthy concession, it also agreed to support Windows XP for six years -- a year beyond the five-year base contract, and said the city could skip the next Office upgrade, too. That meant Munich could use Windows XP and Office XP until 2010, and would not have to upgrade in 2009. That would save the city, by Microsoft's estimate, $1.8 million.

This ran counter to a controversial licensing policy Microsoft's introduced in 2001, which makes Windows and Office more expensive for customers who do not upgrade every three to four years.

The offer from the Linux camp improved, as well. SuSE CEO Seibt -- also an IBM alum who hired Gallman at Big Blue in 1996 -- shaved the Linux bid by $3.8 million to $35.7 million.

Though IBM-SuSE's bid was still $3.8 million higher than Microsoft's, Unilog on April 28 called the offers a tossup. On May 21, council members met separately by party to discuss the upcoming vote. It became clear that two of three political parties, representing a clear majority, favored the open-source offer.

Microsoft makes one last offer to fuck them in the ass.

On May 27, the day before the council was scheduled to formally make its choice, Microsoft's Gallman faxed Ude a letter accusing the Linux camp of cheating, according to a copy of the letter obtained by USA TODAY. ''That our competitors SuSE and IBM were given a one-sided opportunity to improve their April 28th offer, based on detailed knowledge of Microsoft Germany's offer, is not in accordance with our legal understanding of the ground rules of fair process,'' Gallman wrote.

David Burger, the SuSE vice president in charge of the Linux bid, says he never saw Microsoft's bid, nor did he offer the city any sweeteners after the Linux camp's one-time cut. ''That ploy is a little poor coming from a company like Microsoft,'' Burger says. ''I find it ironic that Microsoft could actually be trying to be seen as if it were being dealt with unfairly.''

Gallman extended one final ''improved offer,'' slicing another $8.2 million off Microsoft's standing bid, according to Ude's letter.

Among other sweeteners, this time Microsoft reduced its license fees for Windows XP by $912,600 and lowered its charges for helping the city make the upgrade by another $3.6 million, according to a separate letter Microsoft faxed to Wolowicz.

Microsoft also took the unusual step of offering to let Munich buy Microsoft Word -- normally bundled with Excel spreadsheet, PowerPoint slide presentation, Access data base and Outlook communications software to make up Microsoft Office -- a la carte.

In explaining that concession in its letter, Microsoft indicated it possessed data showing that many workers don't need a full stack of basic programs. ''This applies in particular to our proposal to put only Word on 4,000 workstations because the other Office products are not used on approximately 30% of workstations, based on our experience,'' says the letter from Microsoft. The projected savings: $778,050.

Gallman, in an interview, said the last-minute offer stemmed from Microsoft's wish to communicate ''a better understanding of Microsoft's licensing model.''

''It was not a discount,'' he says.

Gallman's appeal fell mostly on deaf ears. Councilwoman Strobl, for one, was skeptical. ''Our consultant had no time to double-check the offer, whether it was really cost effective, or whether there were hidden costs,'' she says. ''We did not take it seriously.''

Other council members shared her doubt.

''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.''

On May 28, the council voted 50 to 30 to switch to Linux.

Re:slashdotted: karmaless reprint (1)

usotsuki (530037) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447100)

Microsoft makes one last offer to fuck them in the ass.

Anyone tell me what's really written there?

-uso.

Well, just goes to show... (5, Funny)

daeley (126313) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446919)

I guess Ballmer's "Ich bin ein Bavarian Creme Pie" speech didn't go over so good with the Mayor. ;)

Re:Well, just goes to show... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446970)

nobody would hit balmer with a pie, he'd just eat the thing.

Re:Well, just goes to show... (4, Funny)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447055)

The irony is that the above phrase translates from German to "I am John F. Kennedy" in English.

Re:Well, just goes to show... (5, Funny)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447182)

"I guess Ballmer's "Ich bin ein Bavarian Creme Pie" speech didn't go over so good with the Mayor."

Actually, if it was Ballmer giving the speech I'm sure it would've been more like:

"Entwickler, Entwickler, Entwickler, Entwickler! Aaaaiiiieeeee, wooooooooo!"

Plagarism? (0, Offtopic)

IWannaBeAnAC (653701) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446920)

isn't this article a complete ripoff of the first article on this posted to slashdot?

The Long run... (1)

Valiss (463641) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446921)

I think that in the long run, Linux will be cheaper than M$. This is for seveal reason which I won't go into as most of you are familiar with Linux. Even so, it is good to see/know that MS will bend when put in such a position. With all the Linux news I've seen/read over the past few days, I would be surprised to see MS push out some products sooner. It looks like MS is slowly loosing its grip on the market, but then again, its looked that way for a while. Only now are we seeing them fight fire with fire.

Re:The Long run... (2, Insightful)

Valiss (463641) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446962)

I just noticed.. the article sums it best:

Open-source advocates counter that Munich proves tech buyers are beginning to demand price cuts from Microsoft while giving Linux a serious look.

Mozilla? (5, Insightful)

jj00 (599158) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446927)

From the article: "...Mozilla, a Web browser that can perform basic workplace tasks"

How about: "Mozilla, a web browser with more features than Internet Explorer"

Re:Mozilla? (1, Funny)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446966)

How about: A web browser that thinks its an irc client, email reader, etc, etc and the kitchen sink too.

Or: A completely bloated pile of horse shit.

The only feature I want from a browser is rendering pages correctly.

Re:Mozilla? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447008)

The only feature I want from a browser is rendering pages correctly.



Well, then, Mozilla's your only choice now, isn't it? What with IE using proprietary "standards" and all, and Opera not finished in its support, etc.

Re:Mozilla? (1)

el-spectre (668104) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447062)

Good point. IE is a completely standalone product... uh huh...

If you don't care for the mail client, etc., try mozilla firebird. It's just the browser.

Mozilla Firebird (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447185)

I was turned on to Firebird yesterday in fact. It too me all of 10min to decide to make it my default browser. And I did the same thing at home lastnight as well. Down with IE, long live Mozilla [Firebird]!! Tabs...wonderful tabs...

Re:Mozilla? (2, Interesting)

Vexalith (684137) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447175)

Try Mozilla Firebird then. The Gecko engine is much more w3c-conformant than Internet Explorer. Also Firebird doesn't come with Outlook Express. Eugh. I could read in to your post and interpret you wanting pages to render correctly as meaning "exactly as in MSIE". This is just wrong...

Re:Mozilla? (1)

rylin (688457) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447117)

Hardly.
Although Mozilla has a kitchen sink, IE is the OS.
Figure :P

Ballmer (5, Funny)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446928)

Well, they actually considered buying from Microsoft until Ballmer showed up doing the monkey dance [msboycott.com] .

Re:Ballmer (1)

mcp33p4n75 (684632) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447004)

That has to be one of the funniest things i've ever seen.

Re:Ballmer (1)

Dasaan (644170) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447159)

I'm gonna have to block that link before the company MD sees it and gets some ideas
*shudders*

Oh come on... (4, Insightful)

frodo from middle ea (602941) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446930)

to what length Microsoft went to avoid loosing contract to linux

I am all for linux, but now are we going to bash Microsoft for trying to do business. People this is business, its a cut-throat world not a woodstock concert.

Of course M$ will do everything in its power to bury linux, what's the news here ?

Re:Oh come on... (4, Insightful)

juuri (7678) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447141)

I'm not really into bashing Microsoft continually, that was so 1995 and BBS-like but...

I guess the news here is that parts of the world outside the tightly wound tech community are starting to realize how over priced Microsoft software is. In this specific instance they noted this condition when Microsoft kept dropping their software prices. Sure it may only be one government, but soon it may be many and eventually the U.S. one as well. Hopefully the competition will continue to drive down software prices for everyone in the WinTel world.

The other good thing here is that it shows the OS war isn't over completely. So maybe someday in the future we may see some serious OS innovation again from some small upstart company or group of individuals. As great as linux/the bsds are they are a refinement not an innovation.

Re:Oh come on... (4, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447147)

When foreign companies "try to do business" with the US, they end up being accused of dumping, leading to trade barriers against a whole nations industry. Look at what happened to the Japanese supercomputer industry when NEC tried to get a foot in the US supercomputer market a few years ago.

Re:Oh come on... (5, Insightful)

Laur (673497) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447155)

Of course M$ will do everything in its power to bury linux, what's the news here ?

That they lost?

Re:Oh come on... (1)

Reid (629) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447167)

Of course M$ will do everything in its power to bury linux, what's the news here ?

The news is that for once, and on a fairly large scale, their power wasn't enough to seal the deal. It's certainly interesting to read the details of how the deal went down, too. And to read this in such a mainstream publication!

Another one bites the dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446934)

Microsoft must really be starting to sweat. Every country that switches over is another example of a Linux sucess story to other prospective nations.
I hope the decide to follow through and try to break free from the mold.

Re:Another one bites the dust (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446998)

*Cough*Munich is a city, not a country*cough*.

Wasen't Cost (4, Insightful)

zulux (112259) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446935)

The real interesting thing that this article brough out was that the decision by wasen't made due to up-front costs: Microsoft brought their bid down to below IBM/SuSE's bid by several million dollars.

Probably, the government realised that the Microsoft solution had higher total 'costs' due to:

*vendor lock-in
*poor reliability
*poor scalability
*poor security
*poor standards compliance

amung other items.

Re:Wasen't Cost (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447016)

No vendor lockin with IBM, boy howdy. They have a long and illustrious record of playing 100% fairly in the market. And all of their products are absolutly secure and 100% standard!

Hooray IBM.

Heres to watching them squelch OSS permanently under their mighty thumb.

You do realize they've pretty much succeeded in convincing the pointy haired bosses of the world that Linux(tm) is a product of IBM(c).

Re:Wasen't Cost (1)

gfody (514448) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447026)

exactly, they said the decision was a 'strategic' one. but what about hidden costs associated with linux? aren't there far less linux compitent IT guys available then there are MCSE drones?

Re:Wasen't Cost (2, Insightful)

benjamindees (441808) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447151)

aren't there far less linux compitent IT guys available then there are MCSE drones?

That, sir, is a *good* thing. It means that those who choose to learn and support Linux are the ones who are 1) intelligent and competent enough to do so, and 2) bright enough to see that Linux is the correct long-term choice. Besides, it takes less Linux admins for a given number of boxen than it does MCSE's.

Re:Wasen't Cost (1)

janda (572221) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447154)

There's probably less *n** people with pieces of paper, but I doubt there's actually that many less competent people.

You see, first we make sure "...degree or equivelant experience" is on all job postings, "show me the paper".

Horray for Choice (5, Insightful)

Webtommy88 (515386) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446943)

...Microsoft last March dispatched CEO Steve Ballmer to the rescue....Documents obtained by USA TODAY show Microsoft subsequently lowered its pricing to $31.9 million and then to $23.7 million -- an overall 35% price cut. The discounts were for naught.

for the non believers: The CEO of MS himself went to a sales call and lost the sale, you better start beliving Linux is a threat to MS.

3 Cheers for all Linux, OSS, and Choice! Hip Hip Horay!

Is this really unfair? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6446946)

Linux is given away for free. So is it really unfair for Microsoft to give steep discounts in order to compete?

The only really unfair thing would be out-and-out bribery --- not that I'd be surprised to hear of bribery on the part of M$!

Fledgling newspaper prints Linux article... (5, Insightful)

jtalkington (668415) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446948)

... was leaning toward a switch to Linux, the upstart computer operating system whose open-source code is continually improved by volunteer programmers worldwide.

How many big contracts have to be won by Linux companies before the papers realize that it's been around for a dozen years? Or that not everybody working on OSS is a volunteer?

Defending? (0)

tds67 (670584) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446969)

Instead, Microsoft is defending itself against the open-source-code movement.

Yeah, like we open sorcerers are conjuring up an attack against M$...hey USA Today, is it possible that maybe we don't consider M$ competition?

More Expensive? Yes, but here's why they chose it (5, Insightful)

moorg (537751) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446988)

Quote of the year IMHO: "Microsoft's philosophy is to change our software every five years," Strobl (Munich council member Christine Strobl ) says. "With open-source, it is possible for us to make our own decision as to when to change our software."

No Surprise; they hate Scientology there, too (1)

karlandtanya (601084) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446994)

Chalk it up to socially liberal German culture and their aversion to structure and regulation from above.


Excuse me, my head hurts now.

German legislation requires this (2, Interesting)

jetmarc (592741) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446995)

Government uses tax payers' money to purchase the computer equipment.

The German legislation requires, that government has to make a public
call for offers, and then choose the cheapest offer. This was done
for buildings etc, and recently it occurred to the Germans that this
law also applies to computers and software. After all, it's quite a
huge investment. Unless Microsoft lowers the price, or Linux increases
the price, or Microsoft bends the numbers so that their offer appears
cheaper than Linux, government HAS TO choose Linux.

I think, the German government is not keen on using Linux over Windows,
and they will appreciate when someone comes along with a good-looking
statistics that allows them to go Windows without risk of being held
liable later.

The Microsoft numbers about total-cost-of-ownership obviously are still
not good enough, otherwise the case would be closed already since long
time.

Marc

Re:German legislation requires this (3, Informative)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447048)

ummm, actually even before MS started their discounting, the linux solution was more expensive - blows you're theory out of the water

the reason why linux was chosen over MS was because MS' approach was viewed as being somewhat deceptive, and because linux wouldn't leave them in a lock-in situation years down the road

Re:German legislation requires this (2, Insightful)

MKalus (72765) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447086)

I think, the German government is not keen on using Linux over Windows,
and they will appreciate when someone comes along with a good-looking
statistics that allows them to go Windows without risk of being held
liable later.


I am not so sure. SuSE is a german company, thus the money stays within the german economy unlike with the M$ solution where the money would go across the Atlantic.

There always was an interrest in Linux, but they couldn't justify it because nobody big was backing it.

If Munich pulls this off you can expect others to follow suit. Munich isn't really a very poor city there are poorer ones out there.

...naming its own price ... (4, Insightful)

burgburgburg (574866) | more than 11 years ago | (#6446996)

"Though Microsoft underbid IBM and SuSE by $11.9 million in Munich, city officials were concerned about the unpredictable long-run cost of Microsoft upgrades, says Munich council member Christine Strobl, who championed the switch to Linux. And the more Microsoft discounted, the more it underscored the notion that as a sole supplier, Microsoft could -- and has been -- naming its own price, she says."

It makes me feel good to know that finally someone other then a bunch of geeks is getting it.

What Microsoft Should Have Done (1)

pudge_lightyear (313465) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447007)

It looks like they did everything but hire David Hasselhoff to try and get the deal. I'm telling you... with the way Germany feels about David Hasselhoff, that would have sealed the deal.

Re:What Microsoft Should Have Done (1)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447145)

We will need to wait for declassification of the government documents but it was stated ....

* Offered millions of dollars worth of training and support services free.

I guess we will never really know.

Cut through to reality. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447013)

It seems the good people of Munich have decided they no longer want Microsoft to be in control of how much money they must pay them and when.

Insted of letting Microsoft decide when they had to upgrade (and pay more and more), they went with a more solid option of linux. And for desktop no less!

This is truely a step in the right direction, one many [ not employed by Microsoft ] should be quite happy about.

give up? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447014)

Interesting to see how these types of contracts are structured, and just what Microsoft is willing to give up to prevent losing to Linux.

give up .. or give back ?

Seen in Munich (2, Funny)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447023)

Steve Balmer, head in hands, sitting on street corner rocking back and forth whimpering, "Delvelopers...*sniff*..Developers...*choke*... DEVELOOOOPERRRRRSSss!!!...*weep*

Hey Steve, where's your Moses now??

People .. get use to it .. (1, Flamebait)

TheViffer (128272) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447035)

Label me a troll or flame bate but Linux is not a garage OS anymore.

Linux is marketed by companies to make money.
Windows is marketed by Microsoft to make money.

Where is the news story here?

If there is profit to be gained no matter how small the margain is, companies are going to go after it. And in this case, if Microsoft can make a profit and under cut a competitor at the same time denying them profits, they are going to do it.

FUD (5, Insightful)

The Bungi (221687) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447036)

Reading the article, it's clear that:
  • The negociations where in step with what Microsoft is accostumed to doing with big accounts, regardless of who or what the competing "thing" happens to be. And it's no different from what other big software houses (Oracle in particular) do as a matter of fact when engaged in stuff like this. The idea that Microsoft was somehow "more desperate" because it was bidding against Linux is stupid.
  • Yay free software. They ended up spending millions of dollars more over the Microsoft package. I'm sure training and attrition will offset whatever benefits they could have realized by avoiding the "forced upgrades", which SuSe will most certainly start doing eventually when they come to their senses, just like RH did. In any case, Microsoft was willing to defer the upgrade cycle for them. So it was more expensive and it will probably be about the same in the long run
  • The vote was 50-30. Doesn't seem to me like an "overhelming" victory. Well, I guess it depends who you're rooting for.
Furthermore, I'd like to continue seeing articles about this topic here. I.e., how is the switch going, how much Munich ends up spending over the next 12 months, what their rate of attrition is, etc. All of previous articles smacked of "hahaa, we stick it to the man!!!1", which is nice but worthless unless all we're interested in is FUD and fluff.

If anything, this will be watched by other cities and companies to see how well it works. I hope it does work, because Microsoft will be forced to change the way it does business. But it better damn work.

Re:FUD (4, Interesting)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447169)

Yay free software. They ended up spending millions of dollars more over the Microsoft package.

Yes, however they got a lot more for their money (in terms of software, support and local employment) and this was only after Microsoft gave large discounts.

I'm sure training and attrition will offset whatever benefits they could have realized by avoiding the "forced upgrades", which SuSe will most certainly start doing eventually when they come to their senses, just like RH did.

The effort to switch from SuSE Linux to Red Hat Linux, or to Mandrake, or to MunichCity Linux, is very very low. Not nil, but low. So, if SuSE or IBM did try and screw them, they could go elsewhere.

Despite that, I don't understand how upgrades are forced. You can still download very old, unsupported versions of Red Hat Linux. If you're referring to the "only 12 months of free errata" thing, then who cares? RHL is meant for developers and home users now, not servers or corporate desktops. I know people still running on RH 7.1, they aren't dead yet.

I think it's rather disingenuous to jump from that to "forced upgrades". If I could still buy Windows 98 then maybe you could also argue that Microsoft don't try and force upgrades, but you can't....

The vote was 50-30. Doesn't seem to me like an "overhelming" victory. Well, I guess it depends who you're rooting for.

I think it was meant in the sense of "overcame overwhelming odds" - ie Microsoft, Ballmer himself, offers very large discounts, you've got all the inertia and proprietary lockin there, and still Linux won out. Not in terms of vote numbers.

Quote from the article (4, Funny)

jeffy210 (214759) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447039)

Ballmer cast open-source software as having 'no center of gravity'

What it means is "We don't know where to attack, because we can't buy them out"

C'mon folks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447072)

It's nice (and fun too!) to pick on M$, but lets be honest here... Who in their right mind doesn't think that everybody involved with this knew exactly what the other was up to? What I found most disturbing about the whole thing was these numbers being tossed around (M$'s for instance) work out to over $2600 per system! For (in M$'s case, XP and Office) software only!!! And the winning bid works out to even more than that! I do understand tech support costs are included in that, but jeezus... Munich could have just gone out and bought 14,000 copies at the store, most likely getting a huge discount, and paid an third party company a lot less than that for tech support!

Hopefully... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447076)

they are willing to give up the whole farm!!!

Great efforts indeed (1, Insightful)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447078)

I've double checked, but the article isn't a cleverly disguised link to The Onion. Quote:
USA TODAY obtained government and corporate documents that provide a rare insider's look at Microsoft's efforts to keep from losing a key customer. Among other things, it:

* Agreed to let Munich go as long as six years, instead of the more normal three or four, without another expensive upgrade, a concession that runs against its bread-and-butter software upgrade strategy.

* Offered to let the city buy only Microsoft Word for some PCs and strip off other applications. Such unbundling cuts against Microsoft's practice of selling PCs loaded with software.

How about:

Letting the mayor not to lick Gates' boots?

Offering some Munich citizens the possibility not to send their first borns to Redmond?

SUSE is German (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447089)

Enough said...

Strange Description of Mozilla (1)

brandido (612020) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447111)

From the article:
It includes a growing number of freely distributed applications, such as OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office clone, and
Mozilla, a Web browser that can perform basic workplace tasks.
Just what basic workplace tasks does Mozilla do? Browse the web? Handle e-mail? Basically do the things that we would expect of a Web browser. Seems the author was a bit vaque on what Mozilla is capable of.

how disapointing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447112)

When recently asked about that e-mail[Under NO circumstances lose against Linux] and whether Microsoft was improperly undercutting competitors in Europe, Gates said, ''We will never have a price lower than Linux, in terms of just what you charge for the software,''

damn, so i wont get MS software for free anytime soon.
well, at least its good to see MS has to be acting fairly, since their software costs more, right?

Never heard of it... (1)

milesbparty (527555) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447123)

...was leaning toward a switch to Linux, the upstart computer operating system...

What is this new software company...Linux???

Service! (1)

Soko (17987) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447127)

Though Microsoft underbid IBM and SuSE by $11.9 million in Munich, city officials were concerned about the unpredictable long-run cost of Microsoft upgrades, says Munich council member Christine Strobl, who championed the switch to Linux.

Game.

And the more Microsoft discounted, the more it underscored the notion that as a sole supplier, Microsoft could -- and has been -- naming its own price, she says.

Set.

''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.''

Match.

Munich must still prove that Linux is ready for prime time on the desktop. Research firm Gartner cautions it won't be until 2005 before it is known how well it works in Munich.

Now don't trip jumping over the net. ;^)

Soko

The impact of this deal is not a financial one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#6447148)

It is more an image one.

Munich is the center of germanys IT and probably one of the european IT centers with many big software companies located in its suburbs.

Second the deal for a strange reason got a huge press coverage, nobody knows why, the Frankfurt deal (which is equally important which Microsoft won) and severl other smaller but also big deals which IBM and others won with Linux did not really get the huge press attention.

Probably SuSE had a small advantage as well being a real german company the people to contact who are knowledable are just around the corner.

At the end due to the big press coverage and given Munics status the whole thing was more a marketing desaster than a financial one for Microsoft since Munich was the first big city which got huge press coverage which swichted to Linux. And if the switch succeeds (which probably it will) the threshold to jump onto Linux with IBM and or others probably will be lowered almost to nothing.

The server isn't the big deal (5, Insightful)

Dark Paladin (116525) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447152)

In the case of Munich, as the USA article points out, it's the fact that the city is replacing desktops.

To Microsoft, this is the Kiss of Death. They really only make a huge profit off of two items:

Desktop OS - the so called "Microsoft Tax" that is the reason why when I go to dell.com (well, not that I would, I'd go here instead [apple.com] for my Unix needs), I can't get a $100 price discount on a new computer by having it be "naked".

Microsoft Office

Other than these two, they don't make a lot of money on other stuff. Oh, some on server licenses, but a pittance compared to Desktop OS sales and Microsoft Office. The Xbox is losing money, I haven't heard anything profitable about their cable investments, and their games division (with the exception of the Xbox) is doing decently.

But the two things that keeps them with that $35 billion in cash is Desktop OS and Office. And Munich basically said "no" to both of them, so they would have the ability to upgrade when Munich wanted, not when Microsoft wanted.

And that's been Microsoft's winning business edge for years. We'll sell you Windows 98 - and in 3 years, you'll have to get Windows 2000 if you want to be able to do stuff with your vendors, your co-workers - you'll have to put it onto your machine at home if you plan on taking work home and doing stuff there.

Munich just got off the Wheel of Upgrades. Now you wonder how many employees will feel they have to upgrade their home computers? How many employees (espeically managers) will go to the IT department and say "Hey, I got a laptop - make it so I can do the same stuff I do here in the office on the road", and they walk out with a SUSE installed machine.

There's still some things they'll have to do on the Desktop end to make things as easy to use as the Windows world, and I trust that will be part of what Suse and IBM were just paid for.

But this is a major step for Linux in business, and Linux on the desktop. And what can Microsoft do about it, other than really compete for the first time on something other than forced installation upgrades?

For the record, I don't think Microsoft is "evil", but I do think they haven't had a real challenge in business because of their predatory business practices. I think it's great they're having a real competitor. Costs will go down, products on both sides will get better, and it someday I might be able to migrate back from OS X over to Linux - once it provides the same ease of use with Unix power I get from OS X.

And competition with Microsoft is just the thing it needs to get itself there. I'm patient - I'll say another 5 to 10 years before I have what I want.

But Munich is a good start.

Oh, and this is all just my opinion - I could be wrong.

Nervous (1)

panxerox (575545) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447158)

Makes me feel nervous even reading a piece like this wondering if it's against my XP Eula or something...

Still sounds expensive (1)

kenl999 (166189) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447160)

Are the numbers right? Even at the "new reduced price", that still winds up being $1692.86 per computer, and either $338.57/year or $282.14/year (5- and 6-year terms, respectivley) per computer.

Sounds a little (lot) expensive.

But hey, I guess that's why Bill & Steve get paid the big bucks...

Steve Ballmer, Visionary, Dead on June 4 (5, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447161)

Rumors continue to circulate around Redmond, Washington, home of Steve Ballmer's employer Microsoft, that he died on June 4th after returning from Munich, Germany, of a massive FUD failure. Mr. Ballmer had tavelled to the technology hub of Germany in order to prop up sagging preceptions of product value, armed with a full portfolio of buzzwords and authorized to offer significant concessions in order to prevent loss of an important sale and save face in a key facet of the European Market. Drenched with sweat and mumbling explitives, Mr. Ballmer emerged from a company plane and collapsed. A cumpled note in his hand, addressed to Microsoft Chairman, William Gates III, contained only one word, "Rosebud"

More details to follow...

I love this story (5, Funny)

Linux_ho (205887) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447162)

As many of you know, at the recent O'Reilly Open Source convention, Microsoft provided sack lunches to attendees for free. The Munich article reminds me of one guy's comment: "They should get used to us eating their lunch."

Be careful what you wish for (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447165)

This is a pretty big change for the government of Munich, and it has been very high profile. IBM had better be very careful that they don't go over budget or have problems with the installation (as _every_ project I have ever had to work with IBM on has done). Microsoft has a good PR machine as well, and it won't matter if it's IBM's fault or a problem with Linux - you can bet they'll spin it so that Linux takes the blame.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447187)

I should really learn how to read. SuSE got the contract, not IBM. Thank you for your patience.

Included with purchase: (0, Troll)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447172)

20,000 text editors
5,000 replacement shells
500 desktop environments
3,000 breakout clones
0 useful software

I copied this from some other kid, what are you gonna do about it? Cry for me? Go on, cry for me, crybaby.

Linux used in political campaign (4, Interesting)

Domino (12558) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447178)

As much as I welcome that the city of Munich has decided to use Linux, I am really pissed that the ruling party in Munich, the SPD, is now running a poster campaign all over Munich with the slogan:

Mehr Linux, Mehr Freiheit, SPD
(More Linux, More Freedom, SPD)

Linux should not be misused by political parties to strengthen their chances for reelection.

Here's [lumma.de] a screenshot of the poster.

Not what I expect from USA Today... (0, Troll)

toonrmeusa (668288) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447180)

...a well written, thoughtful investigative article. Without a single mention of NASCAR or your Traveller's forecast. Wow.

What was that smell...... (1)

efuseekay (138418) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447189)

oh it's pork. POOOORRRKKKK!!

The real reason the Linux deal is cheaper (1)

jdhutchins (559010) | more than 11 years ago | (#6447191)

As has been said before, the Linux deal is cheaper in the long run. Most of the 36million is probably going to go to training people to use Linux, as well as be a Linux sysadmin. In several years, when they want to upgrade again, the sysadmins go download the latest release of Linux, and install it all, for virtually no cost other than labor. With Linux, the cost is mostly labor, the "parts" other than hardware (which will be the same for Linux or Windows) don't cost very much.

With Microsoft, it's the other way around. With Windows Update etc, it doesn't take as skilled (read: as expensive) of an admin to run the boxes. However, while the labor may be cheaper, the "parts" (software licenses) are much more expensive.
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